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French Open 2028: Muguruza surges to win in straight sets

Rudy Martinez
ANALYST
Feature
84   //    06 Jun 2018, 19:50 IST

TENNIS-FRA-OPEN-WOMEN
Garbine Muguruza playing sensational tennis during her straight sets win over Maria Sharapova

Garbine Muguruza outplayed, outperformed and outclassed Maria Sharapova at the French Open Wednesday. The world number three easily got into the semifinals with a game that beat down the former two-time champion in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 on Philippe Chatrier Court at Roland Garros. It was her first win against the Russian and in dominating fashion in her quest to win the title in Paris a second time.

Despite Monday’s massive matchup between Sharapova and Serena Williams being shut down, the biggest quarterfinal would pit two heavyweights together for a fourth time. Sharapova holds a 3-0 lead on the Spaniard dating back to 2014 in Montreal. They had a meeting four years ago on the clay courts of Paris which went three sets and would no doubt do so again. Both have been out of competition for four days meaning that it was even strength coming into the opening games that would determine who would get their mark made.

Sharapova had some issues with her serve, double-faulting twice in the opening game to give Muguruza a break chance. The 28th seed avoided it for the moment but double faulted a third time to hand the lead over. Muguruza made it 2-0 despite committing a double fault of her own on serve. She brushed off the error and played on which got the best of Sharapova. The Russian continued to have issues with the first serve but somehow rallied back to force deuce in the third. Her actions to tighten up kept the game going beyond eleven minutes and six breaks but a loss of control that gave Muguruza dictation in the last rally made it a 3-0 deficit for the former number one.

By the fourth game, Sharapova had four double faults and 10 unforced errors that made it another easy victory for the Spaniard. The Russian needed a hold in the fifth and even against tough skills of her opponent, she etched out the win to avoid a shutout. She would gain another keeping Muguruza from completing the set on the break opportunity. Though she had her serve under control, Sharapova was far from safe as she had to deal with the 24-year-old serving for the match lead.


Muguruza reached double set point in the eighth but watched as Sharapova nailed a return winner to stay alive. It was the last point she’d earn as the Spaniard won it on a return into the net ending 43 minutes of play. The second serve of Sharapova was most responsible for her downfall and late start to the match serving 29 percent that put pressure on her first which saw her 74 percent. Muguruza finished the opening set with a normal pace for herself having the serve above average to make a standing argument for her right to advance.

The second a much different pace that Sharapova couldn’t deal with as Muguruza attacked her opponent’s serve to break. The 31-year-old recorded a break as well but couldn’t get a grip on further improvements. It led to another widening gap by Muguruza who had the double break in hand after four. She comfortably played on as Sharapova’s game continued its disastrous trek. She had nearly three times the unforced errors of the opening set and a second serve that free fell to the floor. With the return game dead in the water, it gave Muguruza free run to take a 5-1 stance.


Sharapova was left to pull something together at the last moment by Muguruza would not give her that room to do so ending the match with a strong performance after 1 hour and 20 minutes.


With every aspect of her journey to the tournament going well for the Spaniard, she will prepare for Thursday’s match taking on the winner between former number one Angelique Kerber and world number one Simona Halep in the semifinals.


 

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Rudy Martinez
ANALYST
A writer with eight years experience in sportswriting. He specializes in the National Hockey League, WTA Tennis and both summer and winter Olympic sports.
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