Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Halep one step away from first Grand Slam title at French Open

08 Jun 2018, 11:57 ( 4 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Simona Halep of Romania hits a return during the women's singles semifinal match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain at the French Open Tennis Tournament 2018 in Paris, France on June 7,2018. Halep won 2-0 to enter the final. Photo Xinhua.

Women's top-ranked player Simona Halep was marching towards her maiden Grand Slam title following easy semifinal victory over Spain's Garbine Muguruza in straight sets at the French Open on Thursday.

   U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens awaits the Romanian in Saturday's final after beating fellow American Madison Keys in the other semifinal.

   It was the third time that Halep made into the final in Paris, after losing in 2014 and 2017.

   The Romanian spurted to a 5-0 lead, and took away the first set 6-1 in a convincing manner.

   After dropping her first set at the tournament, the 2016 winner Muguruza fared better in the second, while failing to stop the in-form Halep towards her third final appearance at Grand Slam tournaments. Halep sealed her victory with 6-4 in the second set.

   "I have two more days until I will play the final. I will stay chill and relax, and then we will see what is going to happen Saturday, but for sure I will fight for every ball," said Halep, who maintained her top position in the WTA Rankings following Thursday's win.

   In a rematch of 2017 U.S. Open final, Stephens outclassed Keys 6-4, 6-4, refreshing her personal best record at Roland Garros. She is poised to sit fourth on world rankings after the tournament.

   10-time champion Nadal bounced back strongly to see off Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in a rain-postponed men's singles quarterfinal, becoming the third man in the Open Era to reach 11 semifinals at a single Grand Slam tournament.

   His opponent on Friday will be another Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro, who eliminated No. 3 seed Marin Cilic 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 to make into the semifinals for the first time since 2009.

   "It's always a pleasure playing him in a Grand Slam. These are unique moments, and many players would like to have this opportunity. We have to enjoy the moment, and I will try to enjoy it tomorrow," said Del Potro ahead of his highly-anticipated duel with Nadal.

   The other men's singles semifinal will be played between No. 7 seed Dominic Thiem and Italian underdog Marco Cecchinato.

   Chinese Taipei's Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig of Croatia were crowned in mixed doubles after beating top-seeded pair of Gabriela Dabrowski and Mate Pavic 6-1, 6-7 (5), 10-8.

   China's Wang Xiyu lost to American teenager Caty Mcnally 6-2, 6-1 in junior girls' singles quarterfinals. She also bowed out from the doubles second round with Colombian partner Maria Camila Osiris Serrano.

   Also on Friday, China's Yang Zhaoxuan and Chinese Taipei's Chan Hao-Ching will contend for women's doubles final spots against Japanese duo of Hozumi Eri and Ninomiya Makoto.

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