Magnificent Halep masters Muguruza to reach final
Simona Halep reached a third French Open final and retained top spot in the rankings with a commanding straight-sets win over Garbine Muguruza.
Halep was runner-up for a second time at Roland Garros last year and lost the Australian Open final in January, but will have another opportunity to claim a maiden grand slam title on Saturday.
Muguruza had not dropped a set in the tournament before she was dominated by an aggressive Halep in the opener and the world number one came from a break down in the second to win 6-1 6-4.
A sprightly Halep returned superbly on a sunny afternoon on Court Philippe Chatrier, breaking six times in one of the most impressive performances of her career.
The top seed will face Sloane Stephens or Madison Keys in the final as she eyes an elusive first major in Paris.
Welcome back to the final, Simona.— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 7, 2018
En route to her third career Roland-Garros final, @Simona_Halep retains her World No.1 ranking as she defeats Garbine Muguruza 6-1 6-4.#RG18 pic.twitter.com/4Ryl1AKSQe
Halep lost the first four games in her quarter-final against Angelique Kerber, but she made a dream start to take charge of the first set and leave Muguruza rattled.
A double fault gifted the Romanian a break in the opening game and a gutsy Halep saved three breaks points for a battling hold in the next, defending superbly and showing an abundance of aggression.
Halep worked the Wimbledon champion from side to side and was at her very best as she fizzed away a majestic cross-court forehand winner before breaking again.
An ace put Halep 4-0 up and she continued to return superbly, breaking for a third time when a struggling Muguruza launched a backhand long.
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 winner to take a one-sided opening set.
Halep had the crowd roaring with appreciation of a magnificent winner in the opening game of the second set but she was a break down at 2-1 after netting a forehand.
Muguruza saved two break points in the next game and looked more assured on serve, but Halep was back on serve at 4-4 courtesy of a stunning forehand winner and an errant backhand from the 2016 champion.
Halep dug herself out of a hole to move a game away from the final after double faulting twice and saving three break points, she then broke to love to reach another grand slam final.
Halep  bt Muguruza  6-1 6-4
Halep – 16/24
Muguruza – 14/31
Halep – 1/4
Muguruza – 1/1
BREAK POINTS WON
Halep – 6/10
Muguruza – 2/8
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Halep – 56
Muguruza – 57
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Halep – 61/50
Muguruza – 48/38
Halep – 70
Muguruza – 55