Simona Halep battles past Garbine Muguruza to reach French Open final

Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza will face world No.1 Simona Halep, who got the better of Angelique Kerber over three sets.

But the Romanian clawed her way back into the contest, winning three straight games as both players struggled to hold on to their serves in a monster opening set that swung one way and then the next.

With Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, familiar names of the last few majors have put themselves into contention for Slam glory once again.

Stephens advanced to the French Open final for the first time on Thursday, beating Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 in an all-American semifinal on Court Philippe Chatrier. Halep has been beaten in all of her previous major final appearances, including at Roland Garros past year by Jelena Ostapenko.

Halep was runner-up for a second time at Roland Garros a year ago and lost the Australian Open final in January, but will have another opportunity to claim a maiden grand slam title on Saturday.

She has bounced back from disappointment after disappointment in the Grand Slam tournaments, where reputations and legacies are made and unmade. Particularly against Stosur and Sharapova, the 24-year-old was terrific and although she disagrees, Muguruza feels like the favourite coming into the semi-finals based on her clinical displays so far. 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.

She improved to 3-0 against her longtime pal and Fed Cup teammate Keys, including their U.S. Open final last September. She lost in the first round at the Apia International Sydney and Australian Open in January.

Maria Sharapova questioned the reliability of the top-100 highest-paid athletes' list by Forbes.

"She's playing fast with everyone", Halep said last night.

Muguruza, the 2016 champion, earlier thrashed Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-1 to reach the semi-finals, condemning the Russian to her worst Grand Slam defeat in more than six years.

After the 13th-seeded Keys held for 5-4, Stephens served out victory at the second attempt. When we get on the court, it's time to compete.

"I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon".

"But to have had the victories that I have had, to have the results that I have, obviously moving a step in the right direction". Like, I have just slowly kind of gained momentum.

But Keys, who made 23 unforced errors in the first set, hit back hard and set up a break point at 3-2, only for Stephens to save it with a service return victor.

Now one will get to play in her second major title match.

"I lost three times until now and no one died", Halep said, "so it will be OK".

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