(Reuters) - Spanish fourth seed Garbine Muguruza shrugged off an early scare to progress to her first French Open semi-final by finally ending the run of 108th-ranked American Shelby Rogers 7-5 6-3 on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old from South Carolina had been a point away from taking the first set but surrendered two breaks in a row to lose it 5-7.
Then, after looking down and out in the second, when Muguruza took a 3-0 lead having broken her opponent’s opening serve, Rogers somehow summoned new strength — and accuracy — breaking back with a fine return before levelling at 3-3.
But that is as good as it got for Rogers, who had knocked out twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the third round.
Muguruza, who reached the Wimbledon final last year, reeled off the final three games in a matter of minutes to become the first woman to reach this year’s last four at Roland Garros.
She will meet 2010 runner-up Sam Stosur for a place in Saturday’s final.
“I definitely want to keep going,” Muguruza said in an interview on court after her 7-5 6-3 victory.
“I wanted so much to win today and hopefully, I can make it to the last day.”
The Venezuelan-born Spaniard said her coach, Frenchman Sam Sumyk, was feeling good on home territory. “He is teaching me a little French,” she said. “But seriously, it’s a disaster.”
She later played down the impact of the cold, wet weather, telling a news conference: “I think the players like to play with sunny days and warm weather, but it is what it is.”
Muguruza said she had not known much about Rogers before the match and was not very familiar with her next opponent either.
“I don’t think I have played against (Stosur),” she said. “I know that she reached the final at the French Open (in 2010). She plays well. It will be a tough match.”
Rogers was not too downhearted after an impressive run at Roland Garros.
“I think both of us just had streaks of playing well and then not playing very well,” she told reporters. “She definitely knew what she wanted to do with the big points. I think that was the biggest thing...
“It’s the biggest match of my life and it’s hard not to think about that. But I thought I handled it pretty well.”
Reporting by Neville Dalton, editing by Pritha Sarkar and John Stonestreet