New Delhi: As the battle of Parisian clay reaches its penultimate stage in the women’s division a lot comes at stake for the world number one Simona Halep and two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza with both gearing up for their semi-final clash after their respective wins in the quarter-final round on Wednesday evening at Stade Roland Garros in French Open 2018.
A former champion of the 2016 French Open and last year’s runner-up will battle it out at Phillippe Chartier not just for a position in the final and inch closer to lifting the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen. But, the winner of the battle come out at the new world number one when the WTA rankings are updated on Monday.
Heading to Roland Garros on May 27, six players in women’s division stood in contention for the WTA World No.1 Ranking – Elina Svitolina, Caroline Garcia, Caroline Wozniacki, Halep, Muguruza, and Karolina Pliskova. And with the proceedings in Paris, reaching the semi-final stage, Svitolina, Garcia, Pliskova and even Wozniacki stand out of contention for the top honour.
Had Muguruza and Halep both lost their respective quarter-final matches, the 2017 Australian Open champion would have left the City of Lights with a big smile on her face despite a round of 16 exit at the hands Daria Kasatkina.
However, the present World No 1 and 3 have both made it to the semis on Wednesday with Halep scrpting a comeback tale to defeat Angelique Kerber 6-7 6-2 6-2, while Muguruza inflicted Maria Sharapova’s worst French Open departure with a comfortable 6-2, 6-1 win.
This will be Halep’s third appearance at Roland Garros semi-final and history says that each time she has crossed the quarter-final mark, the Romanian has made it to the final. While the 2016 champion Muguruza, who is yet to lose a set on Parisian clay this season, will have her second semi-final appearance in seven attempts.
The head-to-head stats reveal that the Spaniard has the edge with three wins in four meetings with Halep. In their last encounter which was in Cincinnati Masters Final, Muguruza had thrashed the Romanian 6-1, 6-0.
“It’s always a tough match when I play against her,” said Halep, who now owns a 6-4 record against the German. “It’s always three hours, so I’m always prepared before the match that it’s going to be the same. After the first set I just stayed strong, I didn’t give up at all, Halep said after her win over Kerber.
“I missed a lot at the beginning of the match. She’s always putting the ball back and she doesn’t miss, so I tried to do too much and it didn’t work. Then I changed my tactics a little bit, and it worked very well in the end.”
“Of course, it’s a different match [against Muguruza]. I have to expect some hard points, power. It doesn’t matter who she is playing against, she does her game. So I have just to stay strong, to try to make her uncomfortable on court, and to try to play my game.”
Halep is surely the favourite, right from the start, but Muguruza has been equally dominant on clay in Paris which hence makes the match something special.