Published: Thu, June 07, 2018
Sport | By Floyd Cook

Sharapova hits back at Serena

Sharapova hits back at Serena

She pointed her right index finger at her temple when she eventually completed a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2 comeback. "Not long after I heard Serena told a friend, who then told me, 'I'll never lose to that little b***h again". She's won 59.6% of service points, compared to 59.0% for Muguruza, and won 51.9% of return points, an edge of 4.3% over her rival today. "My head won it", Halep said.

Maria Sharapova served six double-faults and had 27 unforced errors in the straight sets loss to Garbine Muguruza.

While Halep has yet to get her hands on a Grand Slam title, Muguruza has two to her name and she triumphed at Roland Garros in 2016.

The victor of Thursday's semi-final will also decide the world number one spot which Muguruza held for four weeks past year.

"It's always a tough match when I play against her".

However, this is usually the point in grand slams where Halep falls apart, so it's going to be interesting if the Romanian can finally close the deal on the big stage and put herself in elite company. Stephens has yet to face a serve like Keys' in this tournament, and Keys has yet to drop a set as she's navigated her way into her first French Open semifinal. "Well, she's number one", she said.

If the whole of Roland Garros was deflated by Williams' non-appearance then it appeared that may have been the case with the Russian, who started very sluggishly.

Nadal lost the opener 6-4 against 11th-seeded Diego Schwartzman but began to play better after a rain delay of just under an hour.

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Nadal was serving for the second set at 5-3, 30-15, when another shower came and action was halted for the day. Muguruza hopes to make her fourth career grand slam final and her second career French Open final. "I think everyone would ask me questions, as well", she said.

The two former Paris champions had not been inconvenienced by too much tennis over the past few days - Serena Williams pulled out of her match with Sharapova while Muguruza's opponent Lesia Tsurenko lasted just two games before retiring hurt. Some of those matches were very defining for me.

The last French woman to win a singles Grand Slam title was Marion Bartoli, when she won Wimbledon five years ago.

"I just didn't feel free, and I felt there was a lot of force behind all the shots and that it wasn't coming natural to me - didn't have the rhythm", Sharapova told reporters.

It wasn't an easy win till Kerber needed a medical timeout in the third set.

These two have played four times and Muguruza has won three of those meetings.

The American pair have contrasting styles, with Stephens' game based on her athleticism and ability to get many balls back, while also turning defence into offence fairly quickly.

She has acknowledged having trouble handling her nerves, which is part of why she was so proud about the way she overcame Kerber, a two-time major champion and former No 1.

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