Coming from a player whose mental strength has often been questioned, the gesture spoke volume.
Maria Sharapova's first French Open in three years came to a muted conclusion Wednesday. Halep pointed her right index finger at her temple when she eventually completed a 6-7 (2) 6-3 6-2 comeback to reach the semifinals, too.
"It was really about the mental", Halep said. "I think everyone would ask me questions, as well". "My head won it".
"After the first set I just stayed strong, I did not give up at all", Halep said. "I changed the tactics a bit and it worked". In the victory, Halep won 61 percent of her first serve points and 53 percent of her second serve points.
Muguruza is yet to drop a set in the tournament but she is expecting a tougher test against last year's runner-up Halep on Thursday.
Halep is still chasing her first Grand Slam title after several near-misses.
Kerber found decent length on her forehand, regularly putting Halep close to the baseline, and went easily 4-0 up.
Though Kerber, sensing a pendulum swing, cut her passive play out and began to construct her most aggressive points of the match, Halep would be able to protect that advantage throughout the set. "Plus the extra tension you have in Roland Garros, things got even worse", she said.
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She needed only 70 minutes to eliminate Sharapova and dominated her with superb returning, breaking the former No. 1 a half-dozen times.
It was not enough, though, as Wimbledon champion Muguruza bulldozed her way through the rest of the set to secure her place in the semi-finals.
Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep meet in the semifinals of the 2018 tennis French Open. "She had a lot more depth in the ball".
"I don't want to erase it completely - there are a lot of things that I need to look at and face and work towards after this match", Sharapova added.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the last woman to win the French Open without dropping a set was Justine Henin, who did so in back-to-back years in 2006 and 2007.
The signs were ominous when the five-times Grand Slam champion coughed up three nervy double-faults in the opening game. Sharapova had 27 unforced errors and had her serve broken six times. Muguruza sensed weakness and pounced for a 4-0 lead. "The score doesn't really matter".
Sharapova didn't play a point in the fourth round, because Serena Williams pulled out of their much-anticipated showdown with an injured chest muscle. "Of course, you know what that feels like and you always have that as a target, there's no doubt", she said. "Today was certainly not one of those steps".
One could not tell on Monday, however, as she kept misfiring against two-time Grand Slam champion Kerber.