Maria Sharapova hits back at Serena Williams in book row

Halep who will also keep hold of the world number one ranking as a result of the victory, made a flying start and was 5-0 in quick time as Muguruza made some wild errors.

The Spaniard, who won the 2016 French Open, stayed on course for her third Grand Slam title. Halep is having a lot of success with her return and is doing a better job of putting mistakes in the past rather than letting them impact the rest of her game. Of her first 14 points, 13 arrived via errors by Muguruza - nine unforced, four forced.

Halep won in an hour and 32 minutes, and was awaiting the victor of the second all-American match between Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens.

Halep's fourth chance to win her first Grand Slam title will come against reigning U.S. Open champion Stephens on Saturday.

Halep was runner-up for a second time at Roland Garros past year and lost the Australian Open final in January, but will have another opportunity to claim a maiden grand slam title on Saturday.

Stephens has won both head-to-head encounters, including the Grand Slam final debut for each at NY in September.

Sloane Stephens of the US clenches her fist after defeating compatriot Madison Keys during in semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Thursday, June 7, 2018 in Paris.

But they hadn't played since 2014, back before Muguruza was as confident and successful as she is these days.

A win on Thursday would move Stephens to No. 4 in the rankings.

Top seed Halep into third Roland Garros semi-final
The victor earns a berth in the final at Roland Garros , plus the number one ranking that now belongs to Halep. Two-time finalist Halep remained on course for her first Roland Garros title by beating the German 12th seed.

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After New York, she lost her next eight matches, a run encompassing the Asian swing of late 2017 and the early exchanges of 2018, including a demoralising first round exit at the Australian Open.

All three were tight, three-set defeats, none more painful than her slow fade against the inexperienced Ostapenko in Paris a year ago, where she led, 6-4, 3-0, with a point to go up, 4-0, before Ostapenko rallied to take the trophy instead.

She is one of two semi-finalists - alongside Garbine Muguruza - who are yet to drop a set this fortnight in Paris.

Keys has reached the quarter-finals in her last three consecutive Grand Slams as the 23-year-old continues to make strides ahead at the highest level.

Slowly the normally aggressive baseliner clawed her way back into the contest, winning three straight games as both players struggled to hold serve in a marathon opening set.

Two-time major victor Kerber raced into a 4-0 lead in the first set before having to rely on a tiebreak to nudge her ahead. Some of those matches were very defining for me. "It's a nice opportunity, a big challenge, so I have just to feel happy after the match that I gave everything".

"I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon".

"I think there are a lot of good things like the way my body has handled the long matches that I have played, the back-to-backs. My head won it", Halep said.

Muguruza improved in the early stages of the second set, holding serve for the first time and backing it up with a break on her way to a 3-1 lead.

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