She ended up with six double-faults and 27 total unforced errors, 12 more than Muguruza.
"Coming into this part of the year, I was losing a few first-round matches, matches that I wanted to be winning, of course - but to have had the victories that I have had, to have the results that I have, obviously moving a step in the right direction".
Serve and return worked much more efficiently while Kerber struggled to maintain the usual range from the baseline Nonetheless, Halep's overall level of play had been in the ascendancy for most of that set's second half - and, continuing to take control from the baseline, she immediately took her first lead of the match with a break in the second set. The 30-year-old left-hander has not yet dropped a set with her sterner test coming in the third round against 18th seed Kiki Bertens, where she needed two tie-breaks to win through.
Kerber again failed to serve out the set after breaking back for 6-5 as Halep forced a breaker. There were no such fireworks this time, though, with Halep sealing a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2 victory. In Open Era, No.1 seed has claimed the Roland Garros title on 18 occasions and finished runner-up 13 times.
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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. That might very well have been a relief to 10-time champion Rafael Nadal, who was not at his best on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) and dropped a French Open set for the first time since 2015. Halep's only win over Muguruza came in the 2016 Stuttgart Open, the only meeting between these two on clay.
The 11th-seeded Schwartzman has never made it to the final four at any Grand Slam tournament.
In the other men's quarterfinal, No 3 Marin Cilic and No 5 Juan Martin del Potro were at 5-5 in a first-set tiebreaker when the matchup of past US Open champions was stopped. Muguruza essentially got that round off, too: Her opponent, Lesia Tsurenko, retired with an injury after only two games. That includes the French Open in 2014 and 2017, and the Australian Open in January.
It ranked among one of the most lopsided losses ever suffered by Sharapova in her Grand Slam career. I didn't manage to find the rhythm, to be focused on my match.