Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza set up semi-final; Nadal in limbo

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

Halep, the runner-up in 2014 and 2017, will face Spanish third seed Garbine Muguruza for a place in Saturday's final.

Furthermore, Halep's data on return yesterday was similarly strong, creating 17 break points on the usually strong Kerber serve across 15 return games, and it took a resolute performance by the German to take that first set to a breaker.

Like Halep, Stephens is an incredibly talented defensive player, and she kept stretching points Thursday until Keys would err.

And now that Stephens has taken her lightning 2017 U.S. Open title and piled a French Open final berth atop it after her 6-4, 6-4 passage through dear friend Madison Keys on Thursday, there's this question: Where did she spend last French Open, anyway? Halep will also have to contend with the fact that once she makes it to the second week of slams, Muguruza comes alive.

After racing through the first set, Halep saved three break points in a marathon ninth game of the second which lasted 13 minutes.

It was a gutsy hold which proved pivotal in the match - and, if Halep goes on to win the final, in her career.

The friends hugged at the net, both smiling.

Sharapova and Williams were supposed to meet in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday, but Williams had to withdraw from the pair's 22nd meeting with a last-minute injury.

Somehow, this plucky, reliable Grand Slam final mainstay, Halep, is about to oppose a player who lately had nine mostly clunky Grand Slams and then an 11-month hiatus, yet the latter will be the one with the major title already. "When I'm talking about progression or looking back at the weeks, I think there are a lot of good things, like the way my body has handled the long matches that I have played, the back-to-backs".

Current world number one Halep made the semi-finals for the 3rd time by battling past Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 6-2.

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"I'm happy that I can have another chance".

"I think that I have done really well, but I'd like to keep going", she said.

French Open 2018 nearly presented the momentous occasion where the bitter rivals - Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova - former World Number ones, were about to clash in the 4th round.

"I have another chance to be in the final and hope to do better than past year".

Muguruza had hammered Maria Sharapova in the quarter-final but Halep was a different proposition entirely - and it seemed she knew it.

"She didn't miss a lot", said Muguruza, who could have claimed the No. 1 ranking had she won the title in Paris.

Muguruza settled down in the second set, moving 2-0 ahead before Halep levelled in the eighth game.

"So doesn't matter who is playing against".

"I don't know that I would call the hard road", Murray said. "But, yeah, I think she made everyone wait a little bit".

"So tomorrow is going to be a big challenge for me".

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