Tactical change helps Halep reach French Open semis

Muguruza, who won the French Open in 2016 but didn't make it out of sectionals a year ago, is continuing a fantastic run of tennis at Roland-Garros.

Williams withdrew shortly before the match with a pectoral muscle injury, a moment Sharapova said she found briefly startling but not destabilizing.

Halep started slowly, spraying shots wide as she lost the first four games of the match against the number 12 seed who hit her early groundstrokes with lethal accuracy.

This time, she made no mistake.

"I think there is a lot of autobiographies out in the world, especially in the sporting world, that don't necessarily speak about whether they were rivals or someone they competed against".

The signs were ominous when the five-times Grand Slam champion coughed up three nervy double-faults in the opening game.

Muguruza raced to a 4-0 lead and never looked back.

Sharapova did finally settle, holding serve to love, but Muguruza clumped down an ace to make it 5-1.

After Angelique Kerber's final backhand bounced out of bounds on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Simona Halep turned to her box and pointed to her head.

Maria Sharapova's French Open comeback was ended in straight sets by Garbiñe Muguruza. Muguruza won 58 percent of her return points and broke six times in her quarterfinal victory.

There was no great show of elation from Muguruza at the end. The victor earns a berth in the final at Roland Garros - plus the No 1 ranking that now belongs to Halep. "So I think that's why I won today", Halep said.

"I think she did a lot of things better than I did".

Halep, who has lost all three of her Grand Slam finals - including the Australian Open, to Caroline Wozniacki, in January - arrived in Paris on a hot streak, reaching at least the quarter-finals in her last nine claycourt tournaments and losing only one set on her way to facing Kerber in Paris.

He was also helped by a couple of poor errors by Nadal at key moments in the match and broke the Spaniard twice to lead 3-2 before play was suspended briefly due to rain. Andy Murray wrote: "The girl Sharapova is playing is going to be number one in the world one day. what a player".

"I expect certain things for myself, being in good positions throughout my career and putting myself in No. 1 ranking".