Maria Sharapova advanced to her third straight French Open final after grinding out a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard in the semifinals Thursday.
The win, however, was no easy task for the seventh-seeded Russian.
Bouchard, who was playing in her second consecutive Grand Slam semifinal, hits a heavy ball – much like Sharapova – and took the first set behind her 13 winners.
But Sharapova battled back in the second set, going up 4-1 before a mini-run by Bouchard leveled the set at 5-5.
After saving three set points, Bouchard will serve to level the second set. Likely the most important game of the match, this one. #RG14— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 5, 2014
Sharapova, stayed tough and took the next two games to win the second set, which took nearly an hour, to even up the match.
It was a struggle but Sharapova wins 2nd set 7-5 to level SF vs Bouchard and force a 3rd set for spot in Saturday’s French Open final— Liz Clarke (@lizclarketweet) June 5, 2014
In the third set, Sharapova raced out to a 3-1 lead that she would not relinquish. Bouchard, who also lost to Sharapova at Roland Garros last year – a 6-4, 6-2 exit in the second round – fought off four match points before Sharapova’s final forehand winner sealed the match.
Sharapova leads their head-to-head record, 3-0.
She will play No. 4 seed Simona Halep of Romania, who beat Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) in the other semifinal.