French Open: Simona Halep beats Garbine Muguruza to reach third Roland Garros final

World number one Simona Halep is once again just one match away from a maiden Grand Slam title, with the Romanian coming through former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza to reach her fourth Grand Slam title on Thursday.

Halep had started slowly in her quarterfinal match against Angelique Kerber on Wednesday, though the top seed did not have a repeat of that today, dominating the first set against a Muguruza who was simply overawed by the tennis against her. Early on in the second set it seemed that the Spaniard would take the match to a decider as she lead by a break, though Halep rallied to take the final four games and prevail 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and 32 minutes.

Halep secures third shot at Roland Garros title following impressive semifinal performance

For many this was a very tough clash to call, with both Halep and Muguruza playing some impressive tennis on their way to the last four, and further intrigue was added to this clash by the fact that the winner would hold the world number ranking on Monday, no matter how they fared in the final this coming Saturday.

Halep impressed on her way to a fourth Grand Slam final (Getty/Cameron Spencer)
Halep impressed on her way to a fourth Grand Slam final (Getty/Cameron Spencer)

When the two faced off in Cincinnati last year, Halep won just one game, though got off to a great start today on a sunny Court Philippe Chatrier, breaking in the opening game and then saving three break points for a 2-0 lead. With Muguruza yet to really get going, the Romanian was able to dictate play, and broke again for a 3-0 lead.

After having played so well in her previous matches, Muguruza struggled early on here, and the third seed continued to falter on serve as she was broken for a third time, handing the world number one a commanding 5-0 lead. For the first time in the semifinal, Halep wobbled as she lost serve at this point, though broke for a fourth time to seal the opener.

After what had been quite simply a dire opening set from Muguruza, it was important for her to get off to a good start in the second set, and she managed to do just that. The Spaniard broke for a 2-1 lead, and came through a tough service hold to reach 3-1, with Halep starting to look slightly frustrated out on court for the first time in the match.

Muguruza and Halep meet following the conclusion of their semifinal encounter (Getty/Cameron Spencer)
Muguruza and Halep meet following the conclusion of their semifinal encounter (Getty/Cameron Spencer)

Muguruza was able to remain solid for a while, holding for a 4-2 lead, though Halep was impressively able to regain her focus, After getting within a game of the Spaniard, the world number one broke back for 4-4 in the second, and then saved four break points to go just a game away from a third final in Paris. With all the momentum with her, Halep took advantage of this, breaking to love to reach her second Grand Slam final of the year.

Though it did not quite prove to be the tight contest many expected, there was no doubt that the closing stages of the match were enthralling, with Halep looking impressive as she held her nerve from 4-2 down in the second set. She will have a fourth shot at a maiden Grand Slam title on Saturday afternoon, with either Sloane Stephens or Madison Keys standing in her way.