By Ros Satar, in Paris
- Garbiñe Muguruza  def. Maria Sharapova  6-2 6-1
- Muguruza is yet to drop a set this tournament
PARIS, FRANCE – 2016 champion Garbiñe Muguruza established herself as a favourite to win the title after a crushing performance against Maria Sharapova, to reach the French Open semi-final.
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Garbiñe Muguruza  def. Maria Sharapova  6-2 6-1
Coming into this encounter, on paper, Maria Sharapova owned her head to head over Garbiñe Muguruza. Yet a lot of things have changed in the four years since they last faced each other. Since then the Spaniard has won two Grand Slam titles of her own and become a fixture at the top of the women’s rankings.
Muguruza’s intent was clear and precise, breaking Sharapova twice, and on the second occasion making the Russian toil for well over 10 minutes to take that advantage. The double-break cushion served her well as she held on to her lead to take the first set.
It could almost be described as textbook dominance and control but for a brief rally of resistance by Sharapova to break straight back at the start of the second set but from that point on it was plain sailing for the 2016 champion as she coasted into the semi-finals for the loss of just three games
The changes in Muguruza
Sharapova noted the changes in Muguruza’s game since they last met:
“I think she did a lot of things better than I did. I think she was the aggressive one. She had a lot more depth in the ball. I think my shots were a lot more forced. She served a lot better than I did.”
Muguruza acknowledged that she was a more developed player now, and it is something we have seen in the way she has handled the coming and going of her Slam titles.
“Last time we played was a very long time ago, and a lot of things happened in between that. So I felt like I was a more developed player. And [I was] very motivated out there to — it’s a Grand Slam quarterfinals.
“Four years ago, my experience was difference. I think I improve also as a tennis player. I think I did a good performance today, very serious, solid match.”
She will face Simona Halep, who is still searching for that elusive Slam title, and perhaps the mantle of favourite is wavering now, as we consid4er Muguruza’s form to date. What did Muguruza expect from the forthcoming semi-final – that could easily have been a final.
“[I expect a] very good match. I think she’s right now probably the best player. Well, she’s No. 1. So I’m excited to play a good semi-finals, and it’s good that it’s tomorrow so I keep playing in a row. If I don’t play, I’m training hard. So, I feel that I’m playing a lot.”
The World No. 1 is on the line once more – whoever progresses to the final will take the top spot. Over the course of last year the No. 1 changed hands and at times perhaps caused more of a hindrance that a help – the final in Cincinnati between Halep and Muguruza springs to mind where Muguruza was a force of nature, losing just one game and denying Halep a chance for the top spot.
Muguruza said: “It’s not that important, because it’s constantly this thing going on since last year. So I give less importance to that. Before, I gave it a lot of importance before, you know, you’re fighting every week, and I got there.
“It’s good to be able to play all the time for that, but every week there is a new chance, there is a new thing.”
The Roland Garros women’s semi-finals will start on Thursday at 3pm (2pm BST).
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