Paris, France (4E Sports) – Former world No. 1 and seventh seed Maria Sharapova reached her third straight French Open final after beating rising star Eugenie Bouchard, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, Thursday.
Sharapova clinched the victory in two hours and 27 minutes despite committing nine double faults and 35 unforced errors. However, Bouchard piled up 13 more unforced errors in the match.
Bouchard outplayed Sharapova in the first set, but the Russian clawed back in the second and ultimately converted on a fifth set point to level the match. Sharapova then dominated the third set, grabbing a 3-1 lead before cruising from there.
“She played an unbelievable match today,” Sharapova said of Bouchard. “Her level was extremely high and I was fortunate to win because she played tremendous tennis.”
By advancing to the final, Sharapova will go up to No. 6 but she can go to No.5 if she wins the title over Simona Halep, who advanced to her first Grand Slam final with a 6-2, 7-6(4) win over Andrea Petkovic.
Halep is bidding to follow in the footsteps of her manager Virginia Ruzici, who lifted the Roland Garros title 34 years ago.
“I’m very emotional and I feel amazing now knowing I will play the final here in Paris,” Halep said. “Andrea was very tough and she is a good player, but I was a little bit stronger in the end and am so happy to get through.
Prior to arriving in Paris, Halep had never been beyond the quarterfinals at a major, but she has been in superb form all, advancing to the final without dropping a set.