Muguruza’s Cinderella Run Comes to a Halt at the French Open

The clock has struck midnight for Garbiñe Muguruza, but not before making a massive impression at Roland Garros.

The 20-year-old half-Spanish-half-Venezuelan tennis player’s Cinderella run at the French Open came toan end at the hands of No. 7 seed Maria Sharapova.

Garbiñe Muguruza

Sharapova rallied to beat Muguruza, who was competing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Sharapova, the 2012 winner, overcame a sluggish start for the second match in a row, having defeated No. 19 Sam Stosur 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 in the fourth round. She improved to 18-3 in major quarterfinals and won her 48th match at Roland Garros (against 10 losses), breaking a tie with Serena Williams for the most among active players.

Williams, the world No. 1, barely added to her total at this year’s tournament because she proved no match in the second round for Muguruza, currently ranked No. 35 in the world.

Muguruza, a player to watch for a while, entered the French Open 0-5 against top-five players and 3-8 against the top 10. In her two most recent tournaments, she’d lost to Stosur in the second round of the Madrid Open and to No. 61 Francesca Schiavone in the second round of the Italian Open.

But the French Open was a different story as she crushed Williams 6-2, 6-2, followed that upset with two more routine victories and rolled to an early lead against Sharapova.

Muguruza dominated the first set on by breaking her opponent three times in five chances and hitting only seven unforced errors compared to 13 for Sharapova, who served at only 55 percent and won 2-of-9 second-serve points.

Sharapova, however, showed some of her trademark fight in the second set. After giving away a break lead with back-to-back double faults, the 27-year-old Russian had to hold at 4-5 to stay in the match. Muguruza then played a poor service game to get broken, and Sharapova served out the set.

“A lot of the games in the first set she was always up 30‑Love, 40‑Love, and then I’d win a point or two,” Sharapova said. “Then she’s the one with the confidence. You never are giving her a chance to think. In the second set, when you’re making her hit a second ball after her serve or when you’re being a bit more aggressive on the second serves, taking a bit more chances, all of a sudden she’s not hitting so freely.”

The key point of the third set came when Sharapova saved five break points while serving at 2-1. Both women struggled to string together two good points in the 10-minute game, with Muguruza taking the more offensive stance and forcing Sharapova to defend.

Sharapova struggled all day with the depth on her shots and couldn’t open up the court consistently enough to hit through her young opponent. But the Muguruza forehand broke down under pressure and began to leak errors. Sharapova finally earned the hold, won the next game for a double-break lead, at 4-1, and coasted from there.

“I knew that the match wasn’t over,” Sharapova said, when asked about the quick first set. “I still had a fair bit of time to change things around. Little by little I started playing a bit better, started getting in the court a little bit more, playing a little bit more aggressive, serving better than I did in the first set, returning as well, giving myself more looks at break points.”

“It’s tough now because I had the opportunity to win the match,” said Muguruza. “But I need more experience in these kind of matches. I think I played very good in three sets, but in the important moments I need to improve my mentality.”

Puig Upsets Fifth-Seed Sara Errani in the First Round at Wimbledon

Mónica Puig has registered the first major upset at Wimbledon

The 19-year-old Puerto Rican tennis player hit 38 winners to defeat Italy’s Sara Errani, the tournament’s fifth seed, 6-3, 6-2 on Monday in the first match on Court 18 of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.

Monica Puig

Puig, playing in her first grass-court tournament as a professional, completely outplayed Errani with her hard-hitting baseline game.

Errani was the runner-up at last year’s French Open and had reached at least the semifinals of three of the last five Grand Slams. But on the slick grass at the All England club on Monday, she had only 13 winners and was broken four times.

Puig squandered five match points before hitting a forehand winner past Errani to close out the match. She then dropped her racket to the turf and covered her face in her hands.

Errani withdrew from last week’s grass-court warmup at Eastbourne with a leg injury, but showed no signs of any physical problems during the match.

It’s the third time a top-5 women’s seeded player has lost in the first round at Wimbledon since 2001. The others were Martina Hingis in 2000 and Francesca Schiavone in 2010.

Monday’s defeat marked another humbling Wimbledon exit for Errani.

Last year, the Italian went an entire set without winning a point in losing 6-0, 6-4 in the third round to Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan. Shvedova was the first player in a Grand Slam to achieve a so-called “golden set” by winning 24 straight points.

Puig reached her first WTA main draw quarterfinal at the 2013 Portugal Open. She defeated number 8 seed and former top-15 player Julia Görges in round one before beating former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in the second round. She lost in the quarterfinals to number 4 seed Carla Suárez Navarro of Spain.

At the 2013 French Open, Puig had the most remarkable win of her career before her big Wimbledon win when she defeated world number 11, Nadia Petrova, in three sets.

She next faces Spain’s Silvia Soler Espinosa in the second round.

Dominguez Lino Reaches the Grand Prix SAR Women’s Final

More than two years since winning her second career title, Lourdes Dominguez Lino may finally have a third.

The 32-year-old Spanish tennis player, currently ranked No. 58 in the world, will face former Francesca Schiavone in the final of the Grand Prix SAR.

Lourdes Dominguez Lino

Dominguez Lino rallied past Mandy Minella 2-6, 6-0, 6-1 in one of Saturday’s semifinal matches, while Schiavone defeated Chanelle Scheepers 7-6 (4), 6-1 in the other.

Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion now ranked 48th in the world, is through to her first final of the year. She’ll aim for her sixth title and first since winning the Strasbourg Open last May.

She leads Dominguez Lino 3-1 in career meetings. The two WTA veterans first played each other 15 years ago on clay at Spoleto, Italy, where the Spaniard beat Schiavone for her only win.

Dominguez Lino will be gunning goes for her third title and first since winning two years ago in Bogota, Colombia.