Halep eyes chance to break major drought
‘‘I will try my best,’’ Halep said, ‘‘and hopefully I will be better than last year.’’
The Romanian also came up one victory shy of a major championship at the Australian Open in January, beaten there by Caroline Wozniacki.
That means tomorrow’s final will be Halep’s third title match in the past five Grand Slam tournaments.
‘‘I’m happy,’’ she said, have another chance.’’
The 10th-seeded Stephens had never made it past the fourth round in Paris until now. After sitting out nearly a year because of an injured right foot that needed surgery in January 2017, she has soared up the rankings and made it to her second major final in the past ninth months. ‘‘that I can
‘‘Another great opportunity, and I’m really looking forward to it,’’ said Stephens.
She improved to 3-0 against her longtime pal and Fed Cup team-mate Keys, including their US Open final last September.
Like Halep, Stephens is an incredibly talented defensive player, and she kept stretching points until Keys would err. In all, Keys made 41 unforced errors, 30 more than Stephens.
Muguruza, a two-time major champion, entered the semifinals having not lost a set in the tournament.
But it took her quite a while to get going against Halep, who managed to keep sending ball after ball back over the net.
Backed by fans who loudly chanted her first name between games, Halep went ahead 3-0 in only 15 minutes with the help of only one winner. Of her first 14 points, 13 arrived via errors by Muguruza – nine unforced, four forced.
The second set was more of a test for Halep, who was ahead by a set and 3-0 before falling apart against Ostapenko a year ago. Muguruza’s last stand came at 4-all in the second set, a 13-minute game in which she held three break points. But she failed to convert any of those, and Halep held there, before breaking at love to end it.
In two rain-interrupted men’s quarterfinals, No 1 Rafael Nadal completed a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 comeback over 11th-seeded Diego Schwartzman, and No 5 Juan Martin del Potro defeated No 3 Marin Cilic 7-6 (5) 5-7 6-3 7-5.