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Sharapova battles to book final with Halep, who has not lost a set

Their paths to the final may have been very different but Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep will fight it out for the French Open title here tomorrow.

Maria Sharpova screams with delight after reaching the final. Picture: EPA
Maria Sharpova screams with delight after reaching the final. Picture: EPA

Sharapova, the champion in 2012 and runner-up 12 months ago, recovered from a set down for the third round in a row to get rid of the new kid on the block, Eugenie Bouchard, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. And fourth seed Halep booked her place in her first grand slam final with a 6-2, 7-6 victory over Germany's Andrea Petkovic, sending her through to the title showdown without dropping a set.

Having dropped the first set against Sam Stosur and then Garbine Muguruza, Sharapova knew what she was in for when she found herself a set down to Bouchard, the Canadian tipped by many as the next Sharapova. Bouchard is renowned as a fighter but few people scrap like the Russian and an early break in the second set got her back on track and after levelling the match, she ran away with the decider.

"I always feel like I put in the work to be ready to play whatever it takes," said Sharapova. "If I have a match that's easier and a more convincing win, then I will take that, but I will do whatever it takes. If I don't start good, if I lose the first set, I'm going to be there until the end."

We will hear much more of Bouchard in the coming years but Sharapova will now turn her attention to fourth seed Halep, whose transformation from a mid-ranked player to a grand slam contender has taken just 12 months. Yesterday, she was nervous but coped well and always had the edge over Petkovic, another appearing in her first grand slam semi-final.

"Now I have to be aggressive again," said Halep. "If I win it I think I will do something crazy."

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