French Open 2018: Results, Highlights, Thursday Scores Recap from Roland-Garros

Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova

Halep, still in the hunt for her first Grand Slam title after numerous near-misses, booked her place in Saturday's final with an impressive 6-1, 6-4 victory over the 2016 champion. The victor earns a berth in the final at Roland Garros, plus the number one ranking that now belongs to Halep.

Stephens beat her fellow American and great friend Madison Keys 6-4 6-4 in a repeat of last year's US Open final.

The top-seed finished at the receiving end here in 2014 (to Maria Sharapova) and 2017 (to Jelena Ostapenko, against who she led by a set and 3-0), besides making the final in Melbourne, where she lost to Caroline Wozniacki in January. Stephens, who won her maiden Slam title in NY past year, defeated fellow American and close friend Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 having previously never got beyond the quarter-finals in Paris. At the Miami Open in March, she won the title, beating four major champions in a row.

Ruzici is now Simona Halep's manager.

But it took Muguruza quite a while to get going against Halep, who managed to keep sending ball after ball back over the net.

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Wimbledon champion Muguruza, considered the slight favourite by many, handed her serve over in the first game with a double fault on break point and Halep raced 5-0 ahead in the opening set. Keys predicted, "I'm going to have to be the one to try to open up the court and go for my shots". She's won 59.6% of service points, compared to 59.0% for Muguruza, and won 51.9% of return points, an edge of 4.3% over her rival today. "It's very hard. I think more when I do play Madi, it's just - on the court it's very competitive". She is also the tournament leader in points won with her second serve (75.2 percent).

"It's always hard playing someone from your country and such a good friend", Stephens said, "so I was really pleased to be able to get through that and play some good tennis". I will stay chill, I will relax. "It was tough because her ball is very low, and you don't have many chances to finish the points from there". "I feel calm. I feel that I have to enjoy this victory because it's a great match". "She gave not a lot of opportunities, I didn't really took them right away", the 24-year-old Spaniard said.

"And I have two more days until I will play the final". "I think she hated me for taking something that she believed belonged to her...."

And in a rip-roaring second set, Muguruza ratcheted up the intensity and broke in the third game, but a determined Halep pegged it back at 4-4. The Romanian won their first meeting 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of Barcelona 2012; Stephens responded with two emphatic victories in the following year's Australian swing, 6-4, 6-0 in Hobart and 6-1, 6-1 in the first round of Melbourne - the latter of which paved the way to Stephens' maiden Grand Slam semifinal run. In the first set, Halep had 30 unforced errors. Over the last two sets, Halep made 16 unforced errors, half as many as Kerber, who was treated for a blister on her left foot early in the third.

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