French Open 2018: Garbine Muguruza beats Maria Sharapova in quarter-finals
|French Open 2018|
|Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 27 May-10 June|
|Coverage: Daily live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, the BBC Sport website and app.|
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."
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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."
No dream ending for Sharapova
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.
Ruthless Muguruza shows pedigree
Muguruza had not enjoyed a successful clay-court season before arriving in Paris, winning just twice on the surface in Madrid and losing her opening matches in Stuttgart and Rome.
However, she always seems to peak in time for Roland Garros and Wimbledon, having won or finished runner-up at one of the two Slams in each of the past three years.
Now only Halep stands in her way of a second final appearance in three years at Roland Garros after she demolished the five-time Slam champion.
Muguruza's three previous meetings with Sharapova had all ended in defeat - including a 2014 Roland Garros quarter-final where Sharapova had also eased to the opening set.
This ruthless victory demonstrated how much Muguruza has matured since that loss.
She refused to let Sharapova gain a foothold this time, breaking in the opening game of the second set, then three times more as the Russian won just 11 points.
"The last time we played was a very long time ago and a lot of things happened in between that, so I felt like I was a more developed player," Muguruza said.
Her serve was key throughout, winning 72% of her first serve points, 46% on her second serve and taking six of her 12 break points.
Sharapova, in contrast, won just 61% of her first serve points, 19% on her second and earned just one break point.
"Being aggressive is part of my game," said Muguruza. "And when you're facing somebody that also has an aggressive style of game, I think it's about who takes the command, who takes the first opportunity."
It's all true - Sharapova hits back at Serena
Sharapova hit back at Williams' accusations that her autobiography 'Unstoppable' was "100% hearsay", insisting that controversial references to her American rival are accurate.
The Russian defended her many references to Williams, who she claims hated her for beating her in the 2004 Wimbledon final and reducing her to "guttural sobs".
"When you're writing an autobiography, I don't think there is any reason to write anything that's not true," said Sharapova, who also won their next meeting but has lost their last 18.
"I think it would be strange for me not to include someone that I have competed against for so many years.
"We played many matches. Some of those were very defining for me. It would be very strange, I think, if I didn't write anything about her. I think everyone would ask me questions as well."