Maria Sharapova's French Open comeback has been ended in straight sets by ruthless Garbine Muguruza. Serena Williams is a three-time French Open champion, Jennifer Capriati won in 2001, and the legendary Chris Evert retired with a 94.5% winning record on clay, triumphing seven times at Roland Garros.
The former world number one drilled a backhand victor down the line to hold again in the next game, the 28th seed clenching her fist as she walked to the chair.
"Before, I gave it a lot of importance so that's why you're fighting every week, and I got there". "That's why I started to work hard on my mentality, and my psychology", she had told WTA Insider after lifting the trophy in Madrid past year.
"Coming into this part of the year, I was losing a few first-round matches, matches that I wanted to be winning, of course", Sharapova said.
Muguruza leads Halep 3-1 head-to-head, but this is their first Grand Slam matchup.
There were no such fireworks this time, though, with Halep sealing a 6-7 (7-2) 6-3 6-2 victory.
But she has not dropped a set in this year's tournament and dominated Sharapova with booming groundstrokes and superb returning that earned six breaks.
"It's tough against her".
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Halep completed the 30th win over a German opponent and remained unbeaten in quarter-finals matches here at Roland Garros.
"I mean, it's not that important, because it's constantly this thing going on, you know. since a year ago", she said after a crushing 6-2, 6-1 last-eight victory over Maria Sharapova in Paris.
Romania's Simona Halep came from a set down to beat Angelique Kerber in 2 hours 14 minutes. "She had a lot more depth in the ball". Halep is 3-2 in career grand slam semifinal matches.
"I think my body will need a little bit of rest, but mentally I'm ready to go", said five-time major victor Sharapova. She is less comfortable on the clay compared to Stephens and can get rattled when opponents make her run too much. But, I mean, I think she made everyone wait a little bit'. Muguruza sensed weakness and pounced for a 4-0 lead.
On Wednesday, Halep looked anything but the top seed, slipping 4-0 down in the first set before she rallied to defeat Kerber, a two-time major victor who had exited in the first round in Paris in the last two years.
"When you're facing somebody that also has an aggressive style of game I think it's about who takes the command, who takes the first opportunity", Muguruza said.
Firstly, Halep has been the tournament favourite for virtually the entire event.
Here's another key category in which Muguruza has the upper hand: 2-0 in major championships.
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 freaky line.