Muguruza says top ranking no longer 'that important'

Aubrey Yates
June 8, 2018

Garbine Muguruza thrashed Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-1 to reach the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday, June 6, condemning the Russian to her worst Grand Slam defeat in more than 6 years.

In full swing: Garbine Muguruza hardly broke a sweat en route to her first victory over Maria Sharpova.

Muguruza's last stand came at 4-all in the second set, a 13-minute game in which she held three break points.

After a timid start, Stephens found her rhythm and took control of the opening set by breaking in the third game with a forehand victor down the line.

Halep will face the victor of Thursday's all-American semifinal match between 13th seed Madison Keys and 10th seed Sloane Stephens.

The Romanian arrived in Paris as the top seed and the leading player on the WTA Tour this year, hoping this would be the moment she finally lands her first major.

The pair played at the French Open back in 2014, where Halep won en route to her first Grand Slam final.

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Stephens has won both head-to-head encounters, including the Grand Slam final debut for each at NY in September. She made the last-16 in Madrid and Rome and now has a chance to make the French Open final. Particularly against Stosur and Sharapova, the 24-year-old was terrific and although she disagrees, Muguruza feels like the favourite coming into the semi-finals based on her clinical displays so far.

She has acknowledged having trouble handling her nerves, which is part of why she was so proud about the way she overcame Kerber, a two-time major champion and former No 1.

She also failed to win a single service game in the opener. Rafa Nadal goes in search of his 11th French Open title but don't count out Novak Djokovic - and what about the in-form Alexander Zverev? Muguruza has yet to drop a set this tournament and is forcing many unforced errors from her opponent due to being aggressive and hitting the ball deep.

Sharapova, playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, suffered her most one-sided defeat at the Slams since a 6-3, 6-0 loss to Victoria Azarenka in the 2012 Australian Open final. "If I do that, I will be OK after the match, no matter the result".

"I think I played one of my best matches on clay", Halep told reporters after Thursday's win. "And when I got my opportunity at 4-3 to break, I was like, It's go time", Stephens explained.

Muguruza improved in the early stages of the second set, holding serve for the first time and backing it up with a break on her way to a 3-1 lead.

It is the first time that two American women have reached the last four at Roland Garros since 2002, when Serena Williams beat sister Venus in the final, after a semi-final win over Jennifer Capriati.

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