Romanian star Simona Halep reaches Roland Garros final for the third time

GETTYSerena Williams has withdrawn from the French Open

GETTYSerena Williams has withdrawn from the French Open

In a heavyweight women's semi-final with the No 1 spot at stake, it was Halep who proved too strong for Wimbledon champion and 2016 Paris victor Garbine Muguruza, winning 6-1 6-4, and is now guaranteed to top the WTA rankings next week.

As in NY nine months ago, it was a mistake-riddled performance from Keys, who committed 41 unforced errors to Stephens' 11. This will be the first match between the women since Stephens humiliated her close friend Keys in the final of last year's US Open.

Just like she wowed the tennis world with her summer past year, Stephens is enjoying a strong spring that started with her winning the title in Miami. The first was also at Roland Garros in 1980, when Chris Evert defeated Virginia Ruzici 6-0, 6-3.

There were no such fireworks this time, though, with Halep sealing a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2 victory.

Simona Halep's victory over Garbine Muguruza means Halep will retain the world No. 1 ranking next week.

"It's tough to speak now", said an emotional Del Potro. The No. 1 seed on the men's side wasted no time getting back on track, closing the second set immediately. Two of the four matches have gone the distance. She's also just one percentage point behind Serena Williams in the tournament for highest percentage of first-serve points won (78-77 percent), and her winners to unforced errors differential of plus-3 is best among the semifinalists.

Rafa Nadal is eyeing his 11th title.

The key for Nadal to keep his semifinal record flawless will be recovery.

Meanwhile, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) on Thursday announced that it has named Brazilian tennis legend and three-time French Open victor Gustavo Kuerten as a Roland Garros ambassador.

Just as Schwartzman hurt himself with unforced errors against Nadal, Cilic did the same thing in his semifinal.

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While the Romanian sometimes has trouble with so much on the line, Stephens has been flawless in title matches on the WTA tour, going 6-0. I didn't, like, try to do it. She made Muguruza hit the extra ball all match long and outlasted her in a really crucial game at 4-4 in the second. She committed four double faults, compared to one for Muguruza, and had just one ace. That will be the crucial difference in key moments.

And in a rip-roaring second set, Muguruza ratcheted up the intensity and broke in the third game, but a determined Halep pegged it back at 4-4.

Her consistently errant groundstrokes allowed Stephens to secure a 6-4, 6-4 triumph in and hour and 17 minutes. She said: "I have more experience now".

Muguruza pounced on Sharapova's errors to lead 4-0.

Firstly, Halep has been the tournament favourite for virtually the entire event.

In short, the market has been convinced that Halep is the better player throughout this event, but yet has ditched her for this particular match-up, and it's hard to understand why.

Suffice to say that the 26-year old would be well advised to click into gear properly from the start in the semi-finals because Muguruza has been looking in fantastic shape throughout the entire fortnight in Paris - even if her results leading up to Paris, such as her first-round loss to Daria Gavrilova in Rome, haven't been confidence inspiring.

The No. 3-seeded Muguruza had lost all three previous meetings against Sharapova, who won two of her five Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros. She's very relaxed about her career. It was yet another example of just how commanding the 24-year-old former French Open champion can be when she's keeping self-doubt at bay. She lost in the first round at the Apia International Sydney and Australian Open in January.

There was a stretch after winning the U.S. Open that Stephens did not manage to do that.

Sharapova looked nervous from the beginning and was never allowed to settle as Muguruza posted her first victory against the Russian at the fourth attempt.

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