Maria Sharapova subdues Bouchard in three
The Russian will be hoping to regain the French Open title she last won in 2012
Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates victory during her women’s singles semi-final match against Eugenie Bouchard of Canada at Roland Garros. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Struggling with her serve, Sharapova, who is 18-1 on the red dirt this season, dropped the first set before playing deeper to level the contest, outrunning the 18th-seeded Bouchard in the third.
“She played an unbelievable match, her level was extremely high ... I’m just very lucky to be the winner,” Sharapova told reporters.
Bouchard, who was inspired to play after watching Sharapova at an early age, took first blood, breaking serve and playing her opponent at her own game by pushing her into the corners before the Russian broke back for 4-4.
The Canadian, in her second major semi-final this year, immediately broke back and took the set when Sharapova sent a backhand wide.
Despite Sharapova’s service games being peppered with double faults, last year’s runner-up turned up the heat and squeezed out the second set on her fifth set point to send her third straight match in Paris into a decider.
In the third, she upped the aggression another notch, leaving Bouchard at times staring after the ball with a slight shrug despite the grit she showed to go toe-to-toe with the woman she had once put on a pedestal.