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Maria recovers in time, halts Garbine’s march

Paris: Eugenie Bouchard became the first Canadian woman to reach the French Open semi-finals on Tuesday, with a thrilling 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 7-5 win over Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.

It is only the third time that a Canadian has made the women’s semi-finals at any of the four majors after Carling Bassett reached the US Open semi-finals in 1984 and Bouchard herself went to the last-four at this year’s Australian Open.

The media-friendly Bouchard, who trailed badly in all three sets, has a chance to go one better now and will face Russia’s 2012 French champion Maria Sharapova for a place in Saturday’s final.

Sharapova defeated Suarez Navarro’s doubles partner Garbine Muguruza 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 to reach her fourth straight French Open semi-final.

The 2012 champion and last year’s runner-up lost the first four games as she conceded the first set before regaining her composure. An early break in the second set was all the Russian needed to gather momentum and Muguruza, who knocked out holder Serena Williams in the second round, never recovered.

Sharapova wrapped it up on the second match point when Muguruza netted a forehand.

Novak Djokovic proved too hot to handle for Canadian outsider Milos Raonic as the Serb qualified for the French Open semi-finals for the sixth time with a clinical 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 victory on Tuesday.

The world No. 2, chasing the only Grand Slam title to elude him, next meets 18th-seeded Latvian Ernests Gulbis.

A couple of double faults in the 11th game put Raonic under pressure and Djokovic took full advantage, grabbing the opening set after unsettling his opponent with a dipping backhand.

The Serb, who now has a 3-0 record against Raonic, then took the second-set tiebreak when his rival missed a backhand. The Canadian trailed 4-0 in the third set before retrieving one of the two breaks of serve.

Djokovic, however, ended the contest on his first match point when Raonic, the first Canadian male to reach the last eight of a Grand Slam in the professional era, sent a forehand wide.

The world No. 2 dropped his serve just once, in the final set when victory was virtually assured.

Gulbis followed up his surprise win over Roger Federer in the last 16 by knocking out sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych in straight sets on Tuesday.

Bouchard showed experience well beyond her 20 years as she came back from 2-5 down in the first set to draw level at 5-5 after saving a set point.

Suarez Navarro carried a 2014 record of 9 and 1 in tie-breaks into the decisive game, but the Canadian carved out a 4-1 lead before converting her first set point to take the all important opening game 7-6 (7-4) in one hour.

The Montreal resident broke immediately to start the second set as Suarez Navarro wobbled under the deep ground strokes Bouchard was burying into the corners.

However the Barcelona-based player again forged ahead 5-2 in the second set and this time Bouchard was unable to fight back with the Spaniard converting her second set point to take it 6-2. and force a decider.

Suarez Navarro again began stronger in the third as nerves and the occasion got to both players. However, Bouchard again charged back from 1-4 down to level the match and then creep 5-4 in front.

Sania Mirza and Cara Black crashed out of the French Open after being humbled yet again by their nemesis Su-Wei Hsieh and Shuai Peng in the women’s doubles quarterfinals, here on Tuesday.

The 2-6, 6-3, 3-6 defeat for the fifth seeded pair, was their third at the hands of Su-Wei and Peng in the current season. (Agencies)