French Open 2018: Muguruza dumps Sharapova to reach semis
PARIS, France – Garbine Muguruza thrashed Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-1 to reach the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday, June 6, condemning the Russian to her worst Grand Slam defeat in more than 6 years.
The Spanish 3rd seed, who was the champion in Paris in 2016, will face top seed Simona Halep for a place in Saturday's final.
That semi-final will also decide the number one spot next week.
Current world number one Halep made the semi-finals for the 3rd time by battling past Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 6-2.
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.
"I am very pleased to be in another final in Paris," said Muguruza who has yet to drop a set in the tournament and claimed her first win over Sharapova in 4 meetings.
"I was up against a great player so I had make sure I brought my best tennis."
Sharapova, who missed the 2016 tournament because of a doping ban and last year after she was refused a wild card, was broken 6 times, committed 27 unforced errors and won just 5 points on her own serve in the second set.
It was just her 5th loss in 25 Grand Slam quarter-finals.
"To have had the victories that I have had, to have the results that I have, obviously moving a step in the right direction," said Sharapova who had made the last 8 in Madrid and semis in Rome in the run-up to Paris.
"But today was certainly not one of those steps."
Muguruza pounced on an error-plagued Sharapova start to lead 4-0 with a double break.
Sharapova never recovered from serving up 3 double faults in the first game.
By the end of the first set, the 5-time major winner had won just 8 points against the Muguruza serve and failed to carve out a single break point.
Muguruza only 5 five winners in the opener which was more than enough against the erratic Russian who reached the quarter-finals for the first time in 3 years when old rival Serena Williams handed her an injury-enforced walkover.
Sharapova, 31, was broken in the opening game of the second set which she immediately retrieved.
However, it was just a brief respite as 24-year-old Wimbledon champion Muguruza claimed a quick double break for 4-1, backed up by a hold for 5-1.
It was all over in the next game when Sharapova sent another backhand out wide.
On Court Suzanne Lenglen, 2014 and 2017 runner-up Halep, came back from a set down for the second time in the tournament to see off 12th seed Kerber, who was bidding to become the first German woman in the last 4 since Steffi Graf in 1999.
Two-time major winner Kerber raced into a 4-0 lead in the first set before having to rely on a tiebreak to nudge her ahead.
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.
In Thursday's other semi-final, US Open champion Sloane Stephens will take on fellow American Madison Keys in a repeat of the 2017 final at Flushing Meadows.