Simona Halep sweeps aside Garbine Muguruza to reach French Open final

Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova

But any thoughts those differing levels of energy burned would hinder Halep and motivate Muguruza were swiftly dismissed.

Sharapova and Williams were supposed to meet in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday, but Williams had to withdraw from the pair's 22nd meeting with a last-minute injury.

Simona Halep has won key WTA tournaments and has been a finalist at a handful of Majors.

After racing through the first set, Halep saved three break points in a marathon ninth game of the second which lasted 13 minutes. "My head won it".

Of less logic but ample joy would be Nadal's semifinal opponent for Friday, Juan Martin del Potro, who famously nearly quit the game with belligerent wrists himself, but on Thursday found another crest with his first French Open semifinal berth in nine long, trying years, when he edged Marin Cilic, 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

In the other men's quarterfinal, No 3 Marin Cilic and No 5 Juan Martin del Potro were at 5-5 in a first-set tiebreaker when the matchup of past US Open champions was stopped. Stephens won that one, as well as the only other match the longtime friends, Fed Cup and Olympic teammates have played against each other.

But by the third set Halep had broken the German's defenses - and her resolve - as she banged in 76 percent of her first serves, with only half the unforced errors of her opponent.

Halep was runner-up for a second time at Roland Garros previous year and lost the Australian Open final in January, but will have another opportunity to claim a maiden grand slam title on Saturday. "I think everyone would ask me questions, as well", she said.

By contrast, Muguruza breezed past two-time Roland Garros champion Maria Sharapova in a ruthless victory.

Sharapova certainly didn't do that.

It was 5-0 by the time Muguruza eventually claimed a game.

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"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.

Muguruza improved in the early stages of the second set, holding serve for the first time and backing it up with a break on her way to a 3-1 lead.

"Kind of a weird day", Muguruza said.

American Sloane Stephens, the 10th seed, now stands between Halep and a first grand slam title.

Here's another key category in which Muguruza has the upper hand: 2-0 in major championships.

Halep, meanwhile, has participated in a trio of major finals, losing each. That includes the French Open in 2014 and 2017, and the Australian Open in January.

Like Sharapova, Halep trailed 4-0 at the outset.

"After the first set I just stayed strong, I did not give up at all", said Halep.

But Halep figured things out. Her wins over Muguruza and Angelique Kerber have taken more than 3.5 hours combined. The last time the two were scheduled to play was in Qatar in February, but Halep was forced to retire.

"It was very nice to play like that", Halep said.

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