Sharapova lives to fight another day, Gulbis powers on

Tue Jun 3, 2014 3:19pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

PARIS (Reuters) - There was no Serena Williams standing in her way but despite the absence of her American nemesis, Maria Sharapova came dangerously close to missing out on a semi-final date at the French Open with a younger version of herself.

At 6-1 5-4 down the Russian was on the verge of being toppled by the same Spanish gale force that had blown away defending champion Williams in the second round.

Just when it seemed that Venezuelan-born Garbine Muguruza would pull off an unlikely Williams-Sharapova double at Roland Garros, however, the 2012 champion's renowned fighting instincts kicked in and she raised the decibel levels to shriek her way to a 1-6 7-5 6-1 victory.

It was a performance that led Andy Murray's mother Judy to tweet: "Sharapova is like a tea bag. Put her into hot water and you'll find out how strong she is."

While that observation left the Russian seventh seed rather bemused, her own assessment was more straightforward.

"If I lost that match, I would be kicking myself in the bottom," Sharapova said after reaching the Paris semi-finals for the fourth successive year.

Blocking the former world number one's path to a third final in a row is a Justin Bieber fan who is aiming to become the first Canadian to reach a grand slam final.

She may be a 'Belieber' but there is nothing immature about Eugenie Bouchard's game as she stormed back from behind in both the first and third sets to beat Muguruza's doubles partner Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6(4) 2-6 7-5.   Continued...

Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts after winning her women's quarter-final match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 3, 2014.       REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes