A familiar face is headed back to the French Open women's final following yet another come-from-behind victory on Day 12 at Roland Garros.
2012 champion Maria Sharapova was one of Thursday's big winners in Paris, as Roland Garros on Twitter highlighted:
The odds-on favorite will face the surging Simona Halep in Saturday's women's championship. Halep continued her stellar run through the women's draw on Day 12, beating Andrea Petkovic in straight sets to remain unblemished at this year's tournament.
Below you'll find results and highlights from Thursday's women's semifinal action at Roland Garros.
|Women's Semifinal Results||Score|
|(4) Simona Halep def. (28) Andrea Petkovic||6-2, 7-6(4)|
|(7) Maria Sharapova def. (18) Eugenie Bouchard||4-6, 7-5, 6-2|
*Click here to view complete Day 12 doubles and juniors scores via RolandGarros.com.
Sharapova Starts Slow, Finishes Strong
For the third straight match, women's favorite Maria Sharapova found herself in an early hole and on the brink of elimination. But just as she did in her previous two victories, the No. 7 seed rallied to win the final two sets and advance, per Roland Garros on Twitter:
Although the opening set would belong to Eugenie Bouchard, it was an even set that saw each player break serve. The difference was Bouchard's ability to win points at the net and Sharapova's inability to find any success with her second serve.
The Canadian converted on 3 of 4 points at the net in the opening set, while Sharapova went 3-of-12 on second-serve points.
The New York Times' Ben Rothenberg also notes that Bouchard was able to dictate the longer points:
Bouchard breaks right back for 5-4, doing a better job of turning rallies in her favor than Sharapova is. She'll serve for first set. #RG14— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 5, 2014
Both Sharapova and Bouchard were hindered by unforced errors in the second set, but Sharapova's experience gave her an undeniable edge:
Quality is dropping but Sharapova knows well how to win ugly. She holds for a 4-1 lead in the second. #RG14— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 5, 2014
Sharapova continued to struggle on serve in the second set, committing six double faults, but took advantage of Bouchard's service woes, breaking her in the final game to level the match at a set apiece.
With momentum seized, Sharapova was much more relaxed in the deciding set, eliminating the service errors on her way to an impressive finish. Bouchard certainly didn't help her cause down the stretch, committing 15 unforced errors in the final set and winning just one out of every three second-serve points.
Nonetheless, this more than likely won't be the last time we hear from the 20-year-old Canadian.
Halep Continues Ascent to Stardom
World No. 4 Simona Halep left no doubt in her straight-sets win over 28th-seeded Andrea Petkovic in Thursday's second semifinal match, cruising through in an hour-and-a-half to reach her first-ever Grand Slam final.
Which 2014 French Open finalist was the most impressive on Day 12?
Halep put Petkovic under immense pressure from the opening point, breaking her early to pull ahead and dominating on serve en route to a 6-2 opening-set win. The Romanian recorded 12 winners in the first set to just seven unforced errors.
Petkovic's chance came and went midway through the second set when she broke serve for a 3-1 lead only to give the break right back in her following service game. Each would hold serve the rest of the way, setting up a tiebreak.
Despite struggling in previous tiebreaks this season, Halep displayed a stunning poise in the extra session, jumping out to a 4-1 lead. At that point, desperation set in for Petkovic:
Petkovic switching rackets mid-tiebreak. Don't often see that... #RG14— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 5, 2014
Petkovic climbed back into the tiebreak, narrowing the deficit to 5-4, but Halep secured the final two points of the match to seal the deal.
Halep will only have a day to celebrate before returning to center court on Saturday to take on Sharapova. Although the up-and-comer has clearly taken her game to the next level, Sharapova is sure to be her toughest test at Roland Garros.
In addition to her experience, Sharapova is booming with confidence on the clay and poses numerous challenges physically because of her height and power. The Russian star also leads the all-time head-to-head with Halep 3-0.
For Sharapova, a legacy-boosting title is on the line. But for Halep, Saturday's final will be an opportunity to announce herself as one of women's tennis' elite.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.