Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Simona Halep into third French Open final, vows to erase 2017 heartbreak


World number one Simona Halep is two wins away from her maiden grand slam singles title after defeating Angelique Kerber at the French Open to set up a semi-final against Garbine Muguruza.

Now the 26-year-old Romanian will bid to go a step further than she has ever gone before by beating American Sloane Stephens in Saturday's title match.

It will be Halep's second consecutive Grand Slam final.

"There is no point to be sad about what happened in Rome, because now it doesn't really matter", Muguruza concluded her pre-tournament press conference - and has been tearing up the Parisian clay with steely determination since.

She also was coming off a lopsided victory in the quarterfinals a day earlier, overwhelming Sharapova 6-2, 6-1.

Kerber again failed to serve out the set after breaking back for 6-5 as Halep forced a breaker.

Backed by fans who loudly chanted her first name between games, Halep went ahead 3-0 with the help of only one victor.

"I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon".

A rare misplaced groundstroke from Halep gave third seed Muguruza a break to get on the board at 5-1, but Halep put away another forehand victor to take a one-sided opening set.

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"I was strong on the legs". She was in Chicago with coach Kamau Murray, working her way back from a foot injury that required surgery and sidelined her for 11 months.

"It was a very good level, the whole match, even if the first set was 6-1".

Keys will have to be patient in this semi-final, and only pull the trigger when she's ready to finish off the point. "So it was very nice to play like that".

"I lost three times until now and no one died", Halep said, "so it will be OK".

"In the first set, it was just lightning".

"I think I played one of my best matches on clay against a great opponent", added Halep, who will be appearing in her fourth final at the majors having also been beaten in Australia in January.

Halep raced into a 5-0 lead in the first set against misfiring 2016 champion Muguruza who had blasted Maria Sharapova off court on Wednesday for the loss of just three games.

Halep, of course, came agonisingly close to taking her first Slam in Paris previous year, only to fall short at the hands of an electrifying Jelena Ostapenko, who stormed to the Roland Garros title in fascinating fashion.

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