Sharapova, Halep set for guts and guile battle

Fri Jun 6, 2014 6:37am EDT
 
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By Alison Williams

PARIS (Reuters) - One has nothing to lose, the other is expected to win on Saturday.

Even though Romania's Simona Halep is the higher seed, at four, Maria Sharapova is the household name, the face on the billboards and is playing in her third successive French Open final.

Halep has not dropped a set on the way to challenging for the Suzanne Lenglen Cup, and the 1,650,000 euro ($2.25 million)cheque, having never gone further than the quarter-finals of a grand slam before.

"I have nothing to lose. I will keep this in my mind always. I will try to hit very relaxed," the 22-year-old told reporters after beating Germany's Andrea Petkovic in the semis.

"I know that it will be very tough to manage the emotions, but I will try my best at that moment."

Sharapova has four grand slam titles, including the 2012 French crown, and has been number one in the world, yet she missed the second half of last season with a shoulder injury and has been pushed to three sets in each of her last three matches in Paris.

"I'm very proud, because I worked hard to get myself injury free, and I had to work through some tough losses in the beginning of the season that I didn't want to accept," the 27-year-old told reporters after beating up-and coming-Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the last four.

"I worked through them, I worked hard, and I'm in this position giving myself a chance."   Continued...

 
Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts after winning her women's semi-final match against Eugenie Bouchard of Canada at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 5, 2014. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes