French Open 2018: Garbine Muguruza outsmarts Maria Sharapova in quarter-finals

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Garbine Muguruza moved a step closer to regaining the French Open title by beating two-time winner Maria Sharapova in a one-sided quarter-final.

The Spanish third seed, who won in Paris in 2016, dominated from the start and ended the Russian 30th seed’s hopes with a 6-2 6-1 victory in 70 minutes.

The reigning Wimbledon champion, 24, has not dropped a set at Roland Garros.

She will play world number one Simona Halep in the last four after the Romanian beat German Angelique Kerber.

Both Muguruza and Halep, who is searching for her first Grand Slam title, could finish the tournament as the world number one.

“I was up against a great player so I had to make sure I brought my best tennis,” said Muguruza.

“I wasn’t thinking so much about the result. I was just thinking about not dropping my level, not giving her a single point, and I guess that helped my performance.”

Sharapova, back on the Paris clay after a two-year absence, admitted she had been outplayed but was pleased with her overall performance at the year’s second major.

“Coming into this part of the year, I was losing a few first-round matches, matches that I wanted to be winning,” she said.

“But to have had the victories that I have had, obviously things are moving a step in the right direction, but today was certainly not one of those steps.”

Sharapova was making her comeback at Roland Garros, having been refused a wildcard last year, shortly after her return from a 15-month drugs ban.

After a confidence-boosting run to the last four in Rome, she was eyeing her first Grand Slam semi-final since she went on to reach the 2015 Australian Open final. That never looked like happening.

The 31-year-old had not played for four days after long-time rival Serena Williams pulled out of their last-16 match with a pectoral injury.

Muguruza, meanwhile, barely played either as Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko pulled out of their fourth-round match with a hip problem after only 20 minutes.

But the lack of court time appeared to affect Sharapova more as she made a sloppy start.

Three double faults from Sharapova in the opener gifted an early advantage to Muguruza, another in the sixth deuce of an 11-minute third game helping the Spaniard go 3-0 ahead.

With momentum behind her, Muguruza continued to dominate and served out to win the opening set in 42 minutes.

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