Simona Halep – Garbine Muguruza

It’s a mammoth clash in this women’s semi-final, as two of the pre-tournament favourites meet looking to book their place in another French Open final. World number one Simona Halep is set to take on 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza for a place in Saturday’s showpiece final. These two are used to French Open semi-finals, and since neither will be overcome by the atmosphere it will come down to who’s the best on the day. Simona Halep reached the final here last year, her second after 2014, and she’ll be looking to replicate those semi-final performances again this year. Garbine Muguruza, meanwhile, was the defending champion here twelve months ago, after her triumph in 2016, but it was not a successful defence for the Spaniard, as she crashed out in the fourth round. This could be an all-time classic if both players produce their best game, but who will have the last laugh and book their place in yet another final here in Roland Garros?

World number one Simona Halep is into yet another semi-final of a grand slam event, and she’ll be hoping to reach yet another grand slam final. Halep came into this tournament on the back of reaching the final in Rome, where she was heavily beaten, and she’s been in good form throughout the clay court season. Halep also reached the final of the season’s opening slam at the Australian Open, but she once again came out on the losing end of that final. The Romanian ace had to navigate a tricky opening match against American Alison Riske, with Halep coming from a set down to prevail. Last year’s runner-up then tasted three successive straight-set victories over Townsend, Petkovic and the dangerous Elise Mertens. Two-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber was Halep’s quarter-final opponent and, despite dropping the opening set, Halep managed to fightback and claim a three-set victory to book her place in Thursday’s semi-final. Can Halep reach a third French Open final?

Garbine Muguruza is the player to beat in the remainder of this tournament for me, and it’s her job to not let that happen. When everyone’s on top form Muguruza is arguably the best player in the world, and now she’s into the semi-final here she’s going to be extremely difficult to beat. Muguruza has the ability to turn up to a tournament in no kind of form, and walk away from it as the champion, something she’ll be looking to do here. The Spaniard has already won a title this season, back in April at the Monterrey Open, and she’ll be looking to claim a second this time out. The 2016 champion is yet to drop a set this tournament, following a string of straight-set wins over Kuznetsova, Ferro, Stosur and her fourth round opponent Tsurenko retired injured against her. Former two-time French Open champion Maria Sharapova was Muguruza’s quarter-final opponent, but Muguruza flexed her muscles to dismantle Sharapova by dropping just three games throughout the match. Will Muguruza reach her second French Open final?

These two have both appeared in their fair share of grand slam semi-finals, and both have fared differently in them. Garbine Muguruza is 3-0 in grand slam semi-finals, winning two at Wimbledon and the one en route to her title here in 2016. Simona Halep, meanwhile, is 3-2 in grand slam semi-finals, although she has won her last two, including her victory over Karolina Pliskova here twelve months ago. They both have 100% records in French Open semi-finals, but something will have to give in this one as both bid to reach the final at Roland Garros once again.

Garbine Muguruza currently leads the head-to-head between these two 3-1. The Spaniard won their most recent meeting in the final of last season’s Cincinnati Masters in straight-sets, dropping just one game throughout the match. Halep, however, has won their only previous clay court meeting back in Stuttgart in 2015. These two have contested a few close matches in the past, and it’ll be interesting to see if we’ll get another one of those matches, or whether Muguruza will prove to be too good for her rival once again. Who will reach Saturday’s showpiece final?

Garbine Muguruza 2-0

I only see one winner in this one and that’s the 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza. The Spaniard has been in dominant form all tournament and I think she’ll prove to be too strong for Halep. Garbine Muguruza plays better in the bigger occasions, whereas Halep can sometimes fold under the pressure. I see this game all depending on how good Muguruza plays, if she’s on it then she’ll blow Halep away, and I think she will. I see Muguruza winning 2-0 in comfortable fashion.

First Set Winner – Garbine Muguruza

I think Muguruza will win comfortably, and if she takes the first set I see it being a procession. I can’t see Muguruza hanging about in this one, she’ll want to get the match finished as soon as possible. I see her doing this in two comfortable sets of tennis.

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