By Ros Satar
- Simona Halep  def. Garbiñe Muguruza  6-1 6-4
- Faces Sloane Stephens in the Roland Garros final
PARIS, FRANCE – Simona Halep reached her third Roland Garros final after easing past 2016 champion Garbiñe Muguruza in straight sets.
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Simona Halep  def. Garbiñe Muguruza  6-1 6-4
If she felt that she had the tactics wrong when she faced Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals on Thursday, Simona Halep more than made up for it with a commanding performance against 2016 champion Garbiñe Muguruza in straight sets.
Halep started aggressively with three successive breaks of Muguruza’s serve as nothing seemed to go right from the Spaniard. It was late in the set when it looked as though the quick start was waning as Muguruza broke back before Hale dealt with some more determined resistance from Muguruza to close out the first set.
It looked, albeit briefly, that Muguruza was going to be starting the fight back in a more competitive second set. The Spaniard lifted her level to break Halep early, and looked to have the upper-hand until Halep lifted her level still higher to level at 4-4.
A 10-minute-plus game saw Halep fend off three break points and it felt that had been Muguruza’s best (and indeed only) chance to get a grip on the match. Halep served the match out to the love to make it back to back Roland Garros finals, her third here, and fourth overall.
Coming into this match, Muguruza’s almost serene and clinical form had made her a massive favourite, but with this match, that leaves Halep one win shy of levelling their head to head, the Romanian was just as satisfied with this match as she had been with her first win over Maria Sharapova, in the Rome semi-final.
Halep said: “It’s maybe the second [most satisfying win], because one first is against Sharapova. I think was very good level, the whole match, even if the first set was 6-1. She didn’t give up a point. So, it was very nice to play like that.”
“I’m really happy that I could beat a player like Muguruza. She’s a great opponent, a great player. And it’s always tough against her. I have more experience now. I feel calm. I feel that I have to enjoy it today, the victory, because it’s a great match.”
Of course the weight of expectation will be on Halep’s shoulders more that for Sloane Stephens, who she will meet in the final. In a way, Halep is almost the emotional favourite to finally snare a maiden title – so how easy has it been to almost accept that it might never happen?
“For sure I will let it go, and I will not think about Saturday’s match. Of course, it’s a big opportunity, it’s a big chance, but you never know.
“So I lost three times until now and no one died, so it will be okay (smiling). But I will be, I think, more confident, because I have a lot of experience. But in tennis, you never know, so I
will stay chill.
“I think I should have a better serve today. I think I started in the first set not matching her level. She was right away playing incredible, and I think I should have done something a little bit better to not let it go so fast. But, I mean, she played very good today. So she also put a lot of pressure.”
The Roland Garros Women’s final will take place at on Saturday at 3pm (2pm BST).
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