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French Open: Maria Sharapova rallies to reach semifinals
Question of the Day
The seventh-seeded Russian advanced to the semifinals of the French Open for the fourth straight year, rallying to beat Garbine Muguruza of Spain 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 Tuesday.
In the men’s tournament, second-seeded Novak Djokovic and 18th-seeded Ernests Gulbis advanced and will face each other in the semifinals.
It’s the second straight match in which Sharapova lost the first set but completely controlled the third. Against Muguruza, Sharapova won nine of the last 10 games. In the previous round against Samantha Stosur, she won the last nine.
“When you just don’t feel like anything is going your way, you want to try to find a little door to get into,” Sharapova said. “It’s always that little part that’s the toughest.”
“It was so tough losing in the final last year, being the defending champion,” Sharapova said. “This year, to come back, I have the extra motivation to go further, and to be back on (this) stage is a really nice feeling.”
Bouchard is playing in only her fifth Grand Slam tournament, but she is already into her second major semifinal. She also reached the last four at the Australian Open in January.
Muguruza, who was playing in a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time in her career, eliminated Williams in the second round.
Djokovic beat eighth-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-4 to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros for the sixth time. He has only played in one final, however, losing to Rafael Nadal in 2012.
Gulbis, who defeated Roger Federer in the fourth round, reached his first career Grand Slam semifinal by beating sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Sharapova finally held her serve in the fifth game, but she was broken again, this time at love, to lose the first set.
“I didn’t do much in the first set to hurt her. She was doing many things well,” Sharapova said. “I still had a fair bit of time to change things around. Little by little, I started playing a bit better.”
At 1-1 in the second set, Sharapova finally broke, with some help from Muguruza.
The unseeded Spaniard, ranked 35th in the world, double-faulted twice in a row to give Sharapova her second break point of the match. The tall Russian converted when Muguruza sent a backhand long.
Although Sharapova was broken again in the set, again with a double fault, she started to hold serve more easily while giving Muguruza more trouble while receiving.
By the time the third set started, Sharapova was moving Muguruza all over the court, landing her forehands and backhands easily.
The only hiccup came in the fourth game, when Muguruza had five break points but couldn’t convert any of them.
“That was one of the most important games,” Sharapova said. “After I won that game, I certainly gained more confidence.”
In the final game of the match, the chair umpire twice called for points to be replayed. Bouchard won both replays, with the second one giving her match point.
On the third match point, Suarez Navarro hit a backhand into the net
By Drew Johnson
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