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Wednesday, 6 June 2018 23:04 PM BST
Roland-Garros Day 11: Muguruza sweeps past Sharapova rounds up the action from Day 11 at Roland-Garros 2018. READ MORE

Muguruza hits top gear

Garbine Muguruza emphatically ended the title hopes of Maria Sharapova to set up a semi-final against Simona Halep.

The battle between Muguruza, the 2016 champion, and Sharapova, the 2012 and 2014 champion, promised to be an epic when the Russian got broken after a ten-minute game at the start of the match.

But it soon became clear the former top-ranked Sharapova wasn’t playing at her best as she got broken six times, served six double faults and won only 19% of her second-serve points.

“She did a lot of things better than I did,” said Sharapova, after losing 6-2, 6-1 in one hour, ten minutes to the reigning Wimbledon champion. “She was the aggressive one. She had a lot more depth in the ball. My shots were a lot more forced. She served a lot better than I did.”

Getting the first strike in had been key to winning their first meeting since 2014, Muguruza said, who had lost all three matches they played previously.

“When you're facing somebody that also has an aggressive style of game, it's about who takes the command, who takes the first opportunity,” said Muguruza. “So it was a little bit of that today,” said the No.5 seed, who only got broken once and struck ten winners.

Having started the clay court season with lingering injuries and after one of the worst losing streaks of her career, Sharapova leaves Paris in the knowledge she is slowly closing in on the form that gained her five Grand Slam singles titles.

“Coming into this part of the year, I was losing a few first round matches, matches that I wanted to be winning, of course,” she said. “But to have had the victories that I have had, to have the results that I have, obviously moving a step in the right direction. But today was certainly not one of those steps.”

Halep battles past Kerber

Halep, a two-time finalist in Paris, overcame former world No.1 Angelique Kerber of Germany, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 6-2 to set up a battle for the No.1 ranking against Muguruza in the last four.

“It was really about the mental,” said Halep, who had pointed to her head after she won the match on a backhand error. “So I think that's why I won today. My head won it.”

Last year, Halep succumbed to the pressure as she lost to the unseeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia despite leading by a set and break.

But can the Romanian finally clinch her first Grand Slam title Paris this year?

Halep trails Muguruza 3-1, winning just one game in their most recent meeting in Cincinnati last year.

“It's a different match tomorrow,” said Halep. “I have to expect some hard points, power. So we will see. I have no idea now in this moment, because I want to enjoy the quarter-final.”

Nadal’s fightback halted by rain

Rafael Nadal’s winning streak of 37 straight sets at Roland-Garros was ended on a muggy and wet afternoon by Diego Schwartzman, who ripped nine winners to take the first set, 6-4.

Playing aggressive tennis, the No.11 seed was up a break at 3-2 in the second set when play was suspended for almost an hour because of rain.

Was the unthinkable was about to happen? Could the King of Clay lose for only the third time in his career on the main Court Philippe Chatrier?

After the rain delay, Nadal showed why he is a 10-time champion as he took the initiative in the rallies to race to a 5-3 lead. With Nadal serving at 5-3, 30-15, the players were off again for rain. An hour or so later, play was called off for the day due to persistent rain.

Over on the Court Suzanne Lenglen, Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina and Marin Cilic of Croatia were tied at 5-5 in a first set tie-break when the battle of two former US Open champions was suspended for the day.

Play will resume on Wednesday at noon, an hour earlier than scheduled.