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French Open Tennis • Paris • Roland Garros Ladies Matches (WTA) Sharapova-Muguruza And Halep-Kerber

Garbine Muguruza of Spain in action against Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia during their women’s first round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 29 May 2018. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON



By: The “Frisco Kid”


After two straightforward quarterfinals for the women of the bottom half of the French Open draw, the top half features two blockbuster last eight battles, with intriguing battles between big the big names of Simona Halep against Angelique Kerber and Garbiñe Muguruza facing Maria Sharapova. With spots in the last four at Roland Garros on the line and a tournament with any of the remaining six players capable of taking home the trophy, these quarterfinals should be full of drama and high-quality tennis.


Here’s what to look for in the remaining two women’s quarterfinals from Paris:


Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Maria Sharapova

The only two former French Open champions remaining in the draw, Muguruza and Sharapova both have the experience, confidence, and power to succeed on the dirt of Roland Garros. Making this an even more fascinating matchup for the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd, the third and 28th seed are both powerful players from the baseline, looking to dictate from the center of the court.


Both players have been extremely successful doing that so far. While Sharapova did receive a walkover into the last eight after rival Serena Williams’ withdrawal, the two-time champion has been improving through each match, playing solid tennis in her second-round win over Donna Vekic before displaying the lights-out form that has taken her to five major titles, dominating sixth seed Karolina Pliskova in her most recent match.


Similar to her opponent Wednesday, Muguruza played just two games in her fourth round match, getting a retirement from Lesia Tsurenko, however the 2016 winner has been mightily impressive so far. The third seed has shown the dangerous form that took her to two major titles already in her young career, knocking off former Grand Slam champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Samantha Stosur along the way. In the latter, Muguruza dropped just two games, looking in ominous form and if the Spaniard can dictate the center of the court like she has all tournament, another semifinal spot seems to be in her future.

Prediction: Muguruza in three sets


Simona Halep vs. Angelique Kerber

Simona Halep of Romania plays Elise Mertens of Belgium during their women’s round of 16 match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 04 June 2018. EPA-EFE/IAN LANGSDON

While the headline battle between Muguruza and Sharapova will be all about power, an equally as intriguing showdown between Halep and Kerber will fascinate the Court Suzanne Lenglen crowd with their supreme defensive skills, just as they did earlier this year in Melbourne. In an instant classic Down Under, Halep and Kerber put on a show, going 9-7 in the third before the Romanian narrowly edged out the former champion for a spot in the Australian Open final.


This time around the setting will be very different, the red clay-courts of Paris, however the stakes will be similarly as high with a spot in the French Open last four on the line. While Kerber has exceeded expectations so far in Paris, particularly in surprising, straight-set wins over clay-courters Kiki Bertens and Caroline Garcia, the German former number one is still not a natural on clay, preferring faster surfaces despite her counterpunching game.


On the other hand, top-seeded Halep has shown her impressive pedigree on the dirt in recent seasons, making two finals at Roland Garros, and finding herself just short of a maiden major crown twice so far in Paris. Halep has been going under the radar so far this fortnight, putting up impressive performances along the way, especially so in her fourth-round demolition of Elise Mertens. Kerber can grind points out just as well as Halep, as she has proved numerous times, but the world number one owns the confidence in her game and on the clay to come through this intriguing battle.

Prediction: Halep in three sets

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