Maria Sharapova makes it back to French Open final

Jun 05 2014, 23:44 IST
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SummaryFor the third straight year, Maria Sharapova will play in the French Open final.

For the third straight year, Maria Sharapova will play in the French Open final.

The seventh-seeded Russian again lost the first set Thursday, but again managed to turn things around, beating Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Sharapova will face fourth-seeded Simona Halep of Romania in Saturday's championship match. Halep reached her first Grand Slam final by defeating 28th-seeded Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-2, 7-6 (4).

Sharapova won eight of the last 10 games against Bouchard, and has won 19 straight three-set matches on clay - the last three at Roland Garros after losing the first set.

''I would love to win those matches in two sets, but I always feel like I put in the work to be ready to play whatever it takes,'' Sharapova said. ''If it takes three hours to win the match in three sets, I will be ready for that.''

Sharapova completed a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open in 2012, but lost to Serena Williams in last year's final.

Bouchard, a 20-year-old Canadian seeded 18th, was playing at Roland Garros for the only second time. Last year, she lost to Sharapova in the second round.

Sharapova struggled a bit with her serve, double-faulting nine times and getting broken four times. But she made up for her shaky serving with solid groundstrokes, either going for winners or waiting out errors from Bouchard.

''I don't feel that I played my best tennis, but to be in the semifinals of a Grand Slam and winning a match where I felt my opponent played extremely well, exceptional tennis, and I didn't feel that I was playing my best, I fought, I scrambled, and I found a way to win,'' Sharapova said.

In the second semifinal, Halep played aggressive tennis in the first set. She finished the set with 12 winners and seven unforced errors, while Petkovic had only three winners and 14 unforced errors.

The second set was much closer as Petkovic played with more consistency, but the 22-year-old Romanian was able to close it out in the tiebreaker with a forehand winner.

Both Halep and Petkovic were playing in a major semifinal for the first time. Bouchard, however, also reached this stage at the Australian Open in January.

On Thursday, she took the early lead against Sharapova with her first break in the third game, smacking a forehand winner for a 2-1 edge. She

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