Sharapova hits back at Serena

Rafael Nadal celebrates winnning his fourth round match against Germany's Maximilian Marterer Charles Platiau Reuters

Rafael Nadal celebrates winnning his fourth round match against Germany's Maximilian Marterer Charles Platiau Reuters

Yesterday's matches in Paris saw Simona Halep fight back from the disappointment of losing the first set on a tiebreak against Angelique Kerber to take the next two sets in relatively facile fashion, while our selection, Maria Sharapova, disappointed in the extreme in her defeat to Garbine Muguruza, who created 12 break points and faced just one.

Simona Halep went from out-of-sorts to on-target against Angelique Kerber, scrambling to every ball and staying the course to erase an early deficit. She also greatly improved her success rate on her first serve, winning 47 percent of points in the first set before winning 85 percent in Set 2 and 68 percent in Set 3. "I think I've developed a lot as a tennis player".

"It was really about the mental", Halep said.

Muguruza looked dominant in the win over Sharapova, winning in straight sets 6-2, 6-1.

Simona Halep is two wins away from earning her first Grand Slam title.

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

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"I have just to stay strong, to try to make her uncomfortable on court and to try to play my game", Halep said.

Halep is still chasing her first Grand Slam title after several near-misses. "So I think that's why I won today", she told the media. She led Jelena Ostapenko by a set and 3-0 in last year's final at Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal has dropped a set at the French Open for the first time since 2015.

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.

However, Halep proved the steadier player in the remainder of a tie which featured a total of 99 unforced errors and 12 breaks of serve.

The second semi-final today sees a repeat of last year's US Open final between Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, where Stephens blitzed her American counterpart.

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Spain's Garbine Muguruza thrashed Maria Sharapova to reach the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday as a second top-of-the-bill showdown in three days failed to materialse at Roland Garros.

Muguruza's opponent Lesia Tsurenko lasted just two games before retiring hurt.

"Before, I gave it a lot of importance so that's why you're fighting every week, and I got there".

Muguruza, by contrast, started with a swagger, a rasping forehand giving her a second break before Sharapova went 4-0 down when she put a tame attempted drop shot into the net. If she can channel that same degree of aplomb and expertise in the semi, Halep doesn't have much of a chance.

The signs were ominous when the five-times Grand Slam champion coughed up three nervy double-faults in the opening game. The last time the two were scheduled to play was in Qatar in February, but Halep was forced to retire.

Such impressive data from this match has led to Muguruza being chalked up as a [1.89] favourite over Halep, and I want to discuss why I think this is an utterly freakish line.

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