Halep tops Muguruza, eyes first major title

Halep in semis Meanwhile, world number one Simona Halep won a bruising quarter-final battle against Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-7 (2) 6-3 6-2 to book a place against Garbine Muguruza.

Navigating her way through a tricky draw full of former Roland Garros champions such as Svetlana Kuznetsova (first round), Samantha Stosur (third round) and Maria Sharapova (quarter-finals), the 2016 champion has been looking razor-sharp.

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. 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. There were five players in with a chance of supplanting Halep at the start of the tournament, but Caroline Wozniacki, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Garcia all failed to make the quarter-finals.

In full swing: Garbine Muguruza hardly broke a sweat en route to her first victory over Maria Sharpova.

Muguruza came back in the second set as both players shrieked and grunted every time they hit the ball.

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Muguruza said Halep's fast start had been the key.

"When you're facing somebody that also has an aggressive style of game", Muguruza said about facing Sharapova, "I think it's about who takes the command, who takes the first opportunity".

Sharapova, playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, suffered her most one-sided defeat at the Slams since a 6-3, 6-0 loss to Victoria Azarenka in the 2012 Australian Open final. She was prior to the draw and it took a gift draw for Elina Svitolina - which the Ukrainian was unable to exploit - for her to lose this status for the opening two rounds. 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.

"I know that she's strong opponent". Like Sharapova, Halep was erratic early, making 30 unforced errors in the first set. Muguruza won the French Open in 2016, then Wimbledon a year ago.

Her victory over third seed Muguruza also means she will retain the world No. 1 ranking next week. "I just want to play as I did today, and as I did every day".

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