Maria Sharapova to face Simona Halep in the French Open final

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Rising Romanian star Simona Halep will face-off with 2012 French Open Champion Maria Sharapova in the final of the ladies showpiece at Roland Garros on Saturday.

The in-form Halep continued in dominant vain against Andrea Petkovic, brushing aside the German 28th-seed 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) and in the process became the first Romanian to reach a final at Roland Garros since her manager, Virginia Ruzici won the coveted title in 1978.

Halep was voted as the WTA’S most improved player last year after winning 6 tiles in a calendar year, second only to Serena Williams.

A string of impressive performance in 2014 has seen the 22 year old Romanian soar up the rankings to number three after reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and semifinals at Indian Wells.

Halep also defeated Agnieszka Radwanska in the final of Doha earlier in the year to lift her seventh WTA Tour title, however an impressive performance barely six weeks ago in the final of the Madrid Masters where she pushed Maria Sharapova to the brink over three sets, is one that will give her the belief that a first Grand Slam title is within her grasp.

In the other ladies semifinal, Maria Sharapova had to rely on all her experience to overcome the challenge of another rising star Eugenie Bouchard.

The Russian battled for 2 hours and 27 minutes, eventually ending Bouchard’s run in Paris, 4-6 7-5 6-2, to advance into a third consecutive Roland Garros final.

Bouchard is without question a Grand Slam winner in the waiting and at just 20 she is the only lady on Tour to have reached the semifinals of the first two Grand Slams in 2014.

It has also been a breakthrough year for the Canadian after she won the first of what will be many Tour titles in Nurnberg earlier in the year.

The experienced Sharapova has had a stellar clay-court season with titles in Stuttgart and Madrid and has only lost one match on the red dirt this season which came against Ana Ivanovic in Rome a few weeks ago.

In fact the Russian’s form on clay has been so dominant that she has only lost four matches on the surface since 2012, the other three coming at the hands of Serena Williams.

The 2012 French Open Champion Sharapova, will be appearing in her ninth Grand Slam final winning four of them. It will also be her fifty-fourth career final with thirty one titles.

Simona Halep might be daunted by the prospect of appearing in her first Slam final, however after an incredible seven titles in thirteen months, the Romanian will be quietly confident that she is now ready to step up to the elite level and lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen.

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Maria Sharapova
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