Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Maria Sharapova to face Simona Halep in French Open final of contrasts

June 6, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
Maria Sharapova in typical pose on her way to winning her semifinal match against Eugenie Bouchard at the French Open. Maria Sharapova in typical pose on her way to winning her semifinal match against Eugenie Bouchard at the French Open.
Sharapova faces Halep in final
Sharapova faces Halep in final
Sharapova faces Halep in final
Sharapova faces Halep in final
  • Maria Sharapova into French Open final in Paris
  • Beats Eugenie Bouchard 4-6 7-5 6-2 on Philippe Chatrier
  • Sharapova won title in 2012 and lost in last year's final
  • She will play Simona Halep who beat Andrea Petkovic in second semi

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Maria Sharapova continued her run of tough three-set victories Thursday while Simona Halep maintained her flawless record of not dropping a set as the contrasting pair made it through to the title match at the French Open.

The statuesque 1.88 meter Sharapova took two hours and 40 minutes to see off the semifinal challenge of Eugenie Bouchard, who came close to upsetting a player she idolized as a youngster growing up in Canada.

Fourth seed Halep, a bundle of pugnacious energy at just 1.68 meters, was merely detained for 90 minutes in dispatching Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-2 7-6 on the same Philippe Chatrier Court.

The 22-year-old Halep is the first Romanian to reach a grand slam final in 34 years.

French Open outsider's meteoric rise
Sharapova's love affair with Paris

Russia's Sharapova will be playing in her eighth, including her third in a row at the French Open, having won the title in 2012 and lost to Serena Williams last year.

Sharapova has beaten Halep on the three occasions they have played, including the final on clay in Madrid earlier this year, but she will need to avoid the slow starts that have made her passage to the final so testing.

Bouchard, just a few centimeters shorter than Sharapova and with the same powerful ground strokes, looked set to cause an upset when she achieved two breaks of service to take the opener 6-4.

Seventh seed Sharapova steadied her nerves by taking an early break in the second set, but when Bouchard hit back to level at 5-5 it might have raised doubts for a lesser player than the four-time grand slam winner.

She responded in the style of a champion by breaking Bouchard again to win the second set 7-5 before racing into a lead she never surrendered in the decider.

Bouchard, who was playing in her second straight grand slam semifinal -- losing to eventual winner Li Na in Australia -- bravely saved four match points at 2-5 down but succumbed on the fifth.

Sharapova had repeated her feat of her previous two matches against Samantha Stosur and then Garbine Muguruza, who shocked title holder Williams in the second round, by coming back from a set down to prevail.

After her victory, the 27-year-old Sharapova paid tribute to her 18th-seeded opponent.

French Open champs 25 years on
Watercolorist captures French Open

"She played an unbelievable match. Her level was extremely high today and I am just fortunate to be the winner," Sharapova said in her court side interview.

"I would prefer to win in two sets, but she started so well. It was tough losing the first set, but that's not when the match is over."

Halep, whose manager Virginia Ruzici was champion at Roland Garros in 1978 and runner-up two years later to Chris Evert, was never seriously troubled against the German 28th seed Petkovic.

Read: Gulbis: 'Female tennis players need to think about kids

She raced to a 4-1 lead in just 14 minutes with two breaks of service and quickly closed out the opener.

Petkovic rallied to lead 3-1 in the set but gave up the advantage immediately and always trailed in the tiebreak, which she lost 7-4.

"It's very emotional to win and reach my first grand slam final," said Halep.

"Andrea's a great player but I think I was a little bit stronger. I tried my best and did everything I could to win the match."

Halep has risen swiftly through the ranks and won sixth titles in 2013 to be named the WTA's most improved player.

A promising junior, her career stalled until she had breast reduction surgery four years ago, helping her to increase her athleticism around the court, much in evidence on her favorite surface of clay.

Read: Sharapova survives scare to reach last four

Read: Serena crashes out of French Open

Read: Bieber fan Bouchard into grand slam semi

Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1208 GMT (2008 HKT)
Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.