In the fourth round of the 2014 French Open, Maria Sharapova almost fell out to Samantha Stosur, trailing 6-4 4-3, and today in the quarterfinals the Russian was also close to a goodbye wave, as Garbine Muguruza, the story of the tournament on account of her stunning 6-2 6-2 victory over Serena Williams in round two, dominated the first set 6-1 and led 4-3 in the second, before the 2012 French Open champion Sharapova nudged ahead with a break to lead 6-5, served out, and after some initial struggles in the decider, in particular the fourth game in which she saved five break points, the seventh-seeded Russian raced to a 1-6 7-5 6-1 victory. In the third set Muguruza recorded 26 unforced errors, the same number as in the previous two sets together.
The 35th-ranked Muguruza may have lost this quarterfinal, but the fact that she pushed Sharapova to the edge after taking out world No.1 Serena Williams and then following that up by comfortable victories over Anna Schmiedlova and Pauline Parmentier is a massive statement by the 20-year-old Spaniard.
Sharapova’s semifinal opponent will be seed No.18 Eugenie Bouchard, who also played a close three-setter, against seed No.14 Carla Suarez Navarro. After double-faulting on first match point, Bouchard calmed her nerves and closed the match 7-6(4) 2-6 7-5 for her second straight Grand Slam semifinal. To put a nice perspective on the big upcoming semifinal, here’s a super cute old photo of little Sharapova and tiny Bouchard.