Muguruza and Halep Reach Semis; Nadal Match Suspended Due to Rain
(June 6, 2018) Third seed Garbine Muguruza gained her first win over 28th seed Maria Sharapova in a 70-minute 6-2, 6-1 demolition on Wednesday to reach the French Open semifinals. The Spaniard, who won Roland Garros in 2016, has not lost a set in Paris this fortnight.
Muguruza raced to a 4-0 lead over the Russian and was never threatened after that. Two-time French Open winner Sharapova had her serve broken six times, hitting six double faults making a total 27 unforced errors.
The two-time major winner, now 1-3 against Sharapova, last played the five-time major winner back in 2014.
Mugurza said that she has a different game now: “Well, last time we played was a very long time ago, and a lot of things happened in between that. So I felt like I was a more developed player. And, you know, very motivated out there to — it’s a Grand Slam quarterfinals.”
“Four years ago, my experience was difference. I think I improve also as a tennis player. And, yeah, things here and there. I think I did a good performance today, very serious, solid match. Yeah, I’m happy with that.”
“I think she did a lot of things better than I did,”Sharapova said. “I think she was the aggressive one. She had a lot more depth in the ball. I think my shots were a lot more forced. She served a lot better than I did.”
Sharapova added: ”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. Gave her too many looks on second serves.
“She’s a great returner. I mean, there are a lot of things she does well. I think that’s definitely one of the things that she did really well today.”
“When you’re facing somebody that also has an aggressive style of game,” Muguruza said, “I think it’s about who takes the command, who takes the first opportunity.”
In the other women’s quarterfinal, No. 1 Simona Halep rallied from a set down to beat Angelique Kerber a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2.
It was a rollercoaster match for Kerber to moved out to a 4-0 lead in the first set, won the first set in a tiebreak and was dominated in the next two.
“After losing that set, when I came back it was a little bit tough, but I stayed there,” Halep said. “I stayed focused. I never gave up. So I think that’s why I won today. My head won it.”
Halep will take on Muguruza on Thursday not only for a spot in the final, but for the No. 1 ranking.
“She’s playing fast with everyone,” Halep said. “So doesn’t matter who is playing against. She does her game. So I have just to stay strong, to try to make her uncomfortable on court, and to try to play my game.
“It’s not many things, like, to discuss about this match. It’s a style that has everything. She’s a great player.
“She was in this position. She won this tournament.”
So tomorrow is going to be a big challenge for me.”
“I think she’s right now probably the best player, Muguruza said of the match-up. Well, she’s No. 1. So I’m excited to play a good semifinals, and it’s good that it’s tomorrow.”
“No, I don’t feel I’m favorite for this match,” Muguruza said in her Spanish-language news conference, “because she’s played better than I have this year. She loves clay. She loves Roland Garros. She’s shown it.
“It’s a great match. It’s a great semifinals. I’m motivated, and that’s it. That’s all.”
“I have no pressure,” Halep said in terms of her semifinal match. “I played well this tournament. Every match was better and better. I had tough opponents. Tomorrow I face another one.
“So I have also no expectations, no pressure. I just want to play as I did today, and as I did every day. If I do that, I will be okay after the match, no matter the result.”
The women were able to get their matches well ahead of the rain, the men were not as fortunate.
Ten-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal lost his first set in Paris since 2015, when 11th seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina broke Nadal’s serve multiple times to take the first set 6-4. Nadal had won 37 straight sets at Roland Garros.
The Argentine went up a break in the second set 3-2 when the rain came and delayed the match for almost an hour. When play resumed, Nadal broke serve twice and was serving for the set at 5-3, 30-15 when rained stopped play for the rest of the day.
The other men’s quarterfinal featuring No. 3 seed Marin Cilic against No. 5 Juan Martin Del Potro, was halted at 6-6, 5-5 in the tiebreak when rain stopped play.