Beyond the Baseline

French Open Day 12 recap: Sharapova and Halep advance to women's final

Maria Sharapova staved off pressure from Eugenie Bouchard to move into the French Open final. (Dan Istitene/Getty Images) Maria Sharapova staved off pressure from Eugenie Bouchard to move into the French Open final. (Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

PARIS -- Maria Sharapova yet again came back from a first-set deficit to defeat up-and-comer Eugenie Bouchard and reach her third-straight French Open final. In the second semifinal, Simona Halep cleanly knocked out Andrea Petkovic, and will enter her first Grand Slam final without losing a set at Roland Garros.

What happened?

Maria Sharapova staged yet another three-set comeback to fend off Eugenie Bouchard: Maybe people should start spotting Sharapova the first set (actually, don't do that -- Sharapova's 40-1 at the French Open when she wins the first set). For the third straight match, Sharapova rallied from a set down to win, beating Bouchard, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 to advance to her third straight French Open final.

"You know, at the end of the day, it's not how you finish a first set. It's how you finish the last set," Sharapova said. She should start printing that on the Sugarpova bags.

With the win, Sharapova will move up to No. 6 in the rankings and could move to No. 5 if she wins the title. She's now won 19 consecutive three-set matches on clay.

Full game-by-game analysis of Maria Sharapova's win over Eugenie Bouchard

Simona Halep reaches her first Grand Slam final without losing a set: The highest-seed left in the draw after the first week of upsets overcame her nerves in the second set to beat Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 7-6 (4) and advance to her first Slam final. As a result of the win, she'll climb to No. 3 in the rankings on Monday.

The Romanian played a flawless first set, but nearly fell behind 4-1 in the second before Petkovic's own nerves got in the way. The German had her chances, but poor shot selection and a key double-fault in the pressure-packed moments allowed the set to slip away.

"My first feeling was amazing [on match point]," Halep said. "I didn't know how to feel. I cannot say what I feel now. I'm a little bit blocked. It's amazing to play the final here in Paris. It was very tough match. Emotional, also. I was very nervous."

Halep's win sets the stage for a rematch on Saturday of the Madrid Open final, which Sharapova won in -- shocker -- three sets, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3. "I don't know how I have to play to beat Maria," Halep said, laughing. "[Or] if I can beat Maria, better to say. But I have to take that revenge. I will fight for this one."

Photo of the day

simona-halep-7

Hello, dark horse. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Celebration of the day

Maria Sharapova is clearly excited to reach the finals at Roland Garros. (David Vincent/AP) Maria Sharapova is clearly excited to reach the finals at Roland Garros. (David Vincent/AP)

Must-see video

[embed]http://youtu.be/cav-fIqumSs[/embed]

Tweets of the day

Melzer is referring to this soccer team.

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