2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza continued her quest for a second title in Paris with a superb performance on Wednesday, with the Spaniard easing past another former champion in Maria Sharapova to reach the last four.
Both women came into this clash well-rested, with Sharapova progressing via walkover and Muguruza progressing through an early retirement to reach the last eight, and many were expecting a clash similar to their dramatic match at this stage for years, where the Russian prevailed on her way to a second title at this tournament. However, today’s contest proved to be a one-sided affair, with Muguruza losing just serve once on her way to a 6-2, 6-1 victory in just an hour and 10 minutes.
Superb Muguruza storms past struggling Sharapova to reach last four
Muguruza, seeded third, and Sharapova, seeded 28th, had between them played some of the best tennis that any of the women who had reached last eight had demonstrated on their way to this stage, though the Russian was unable to reach her best today and was made to pay for it by a ruthless Muguruza.
It was a nightmare start for Sharapova, with the Russian double-faulting three times in the opening game to hand Muguruza an early break. The Spaniard was looking incredibly solid early on, and another break of the Russian’s serve helped her ease to a 4-0 lead out on Court Philippe Chatrier. After an incredibly slow start, Sharapova began to improve and did not hand her opponent many more opportunities on her serve as she held twice, though she posed little threat to the third seed who comfortably served out the opener.
After a one-sided first set, it seemed early on that the second would go the same way as Muguruza broke Sharapova in the opening game, though a slight dip in the Spaniard’s game allowed Sharapova to break straight back, seemingly setting up a tighter second set; that did not prove to be the case. Muguruza broke Sharapova once again, with the Russian continuing to struggle on serve, and this time consolidated for a 3-1 lead. A huge response was needed from the Russian, who was in her first Major quarterfinal since her return from suspension, though she was unable to provide it as Muguruza broke twice on her way to winning the final three games, sealing another fantastic win.
Despite having a mixed 2018 so far, Muguruza is once again playing her best tennis on the big stage, and she is showing tennis similar to the tennis that saw her take this title in 2016, and the Wimbledon title last year. The two-time Grand Slam champion will be up against Simona Halep in the last four, with a fourth Grand Slam final awaiting for the Spaniard if she wins.