Simona Halep, Sloane Stephens reach French Open final

Maria Sharapova hit 27 unforced errors and made six double faults

Maria Sharapova hit 27 unforced errors and made six double faults

She's a great player and it's always tough against her.

She led Jelena Ostapenko by a set and 3-0 in last year's final at Roland Garros. That she entered into a contractual agreement with Nike in the aftermath of the Australian Open came as a deserved acknowledgement.

"She didn't miss a lot", said Muguruza, who could have claimed the No. 1 ranking had she won the title in Paris.

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.

However, scheduling congestion brought about by rain delay meant that Halep, the tournament top-seed, was the one who bore the brunt of the inadequate organising.

The World No.1 was much-improved under the sunshine on Court Philippe Chatrier after finding life hard in damp conditions the night before, finally seeing off dogged Argentinian Schwartzman on his fourth match point. Court 18 may have, then, received plaudits from the visitors who have had seen matches being played on it.

When we get on the court, it's time to compete.

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A sprightly Halep returned superbly on a sunny afternoon on Court Philippe Chatrier, breaking six times in one of the most impressive performances of her career.

Despite being the number one seed, the Romanian Halep has yet to win a Grand Slam title having also lost this year's Australian Open final to Caroline Wozniacki in January.

Sloane Stephens ousted Madison Keys, 6-4, 6-4, in Thursday's other semifina. Two of the four matches have gone the distance.

Nonetheless, it was also a tad hypocritical and high-handed. Up against the big-hitting 2016 champion, it was among other things a play-off for the numero uno ranking, and per force a place in Saturday's final.

"It's Simona's third final in Roland Garros, she has a great level".

That wasted effort seemed to affect Muguruza in her next service game, which she surrendered without winning a point to hand Halep a deserved victory.

Maria Sharapova left the French Open without much of a fight, but had enough left in the tank to deliver a parting shot at Serena Williams. "I've had issues with the right pectoral muscle to the point where I can't serve", said the 36-year-old after withdrawing from the match.

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Halep worked the Wimbledon champion from side to side and was at her very best as she fizzed away a majestic cross-court forehand victor before breaking again.

Muguruza saved two break points in the next game and looked more assured on serve, but Halep was back on serve at 4-4 courtesy of a stunning forehand victor and an errant backhand from the 2016 champion.

Halep, tennis' sentimental favourite, won 6-1, 6-4 in a spectacular exhibition of decisive tennis to make her fourth major final and second successive one.

After a timid start, Stephens found her rhythm and took control of the opening set by breaking in the third game with a forehand victor down the line. Halep saved two match points to win that one.

Granted that she doesn't have a Major yet, but there is no reason why she shouldn't at the end of this week at the 2018 French Open.

She had never made it past the fourth round on the red clay of Paris until now.

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