Sharapova battles back to claim win

Russian comes back from brink of defeat to win while Djokovic thrashes Raonic to move into French Open semis.

    Sharapova will face Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the semi-finals at Roland Garros [AFP]
    Sharapova will face Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the semi-finals at Roland Garros [AFP]

    Maria Sharapova advanced to the semi-finals of the French Open for the fourth straight year, beating Garbine Muguruza of Spain 1-6, 7-5, 6-1.

    The seventh-seeded Russian made a slow start on Court Philippe Chatrier, falling behind 4-0 before finally winning a game.

    But even though Sharapova held in the fifth game, she was broken again, this time at love, to lose the first set.

    Although Sharapova was broken again in the second set, again with a double fault, she started to hold serve more easily while giving Muguruza more trouble while receiving.

    By the time the third set started, Sharapova was moving Muguruza all over the court, landing her forehands and backhands easily.

    The only hiccup came in the fourth game, when Muguruza had five break points but couldn't convert any of them.

    Muguruza, who was playing in a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time in her career eliminated defending champion Serena Williams in the second round.

    Sharapova lost in the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2011 and won the title a year later to complete a career Grand Slam. She lost in last year's final to Williams.

    "It was so tough losing in the final last year, being the defending champion," Sharapova said. "This year, to come back, I have the extra motivation to go further, and to be back on (this) stage is a really nice feeling."

    Sharapova will face Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the semi-finals, who beat Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-5. 

    Djokovic too good

    World number two Novak Djokovic proved too hot to handle for Canadian hope Milos Raonic as the Serb qualified for the semi-finals for the sixth time with a clinical 7-5 7-6 (5) 6-4 victory.

    A couple of double faults in the 11th game put Raonic under pressure and Djokovic took full advantage, grabbing the opening set after unsettling his opponent with a dipping backhand.

    The Serb then took the second-set tiebreak when Raonic missed a backhand.

    The Canadian trailed 4-0 in the third set before retrieving one of the two breaks of serve. But Djokovic ended the contest on his first match point when Raonic sent the ball wide.

    Djokovic, chasing the only grand slam title to elude him, next meets 18th-seeded Latvian Ernests Gulbis.

    SOURCE: AP


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