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ICYMI at French Open: All smiles for Simona Halep, Diego Schwartzman breaks the streak

PARIS -- Simona Halep just can't stop smiling.

The world No. 1 said at the start of the year that she was learning to embrace all of her emotions on the court and just enjoy the moment. On Wednesday, her grin widened further as she moved into the French Open semifinals following a battling comeback win against No. 12 seed Angelique Kerber.

So if Halep keeps smiling does she think she can keep winning?

"I hope so," she joked in press after her victory. "It's not that tough if I keep smiling. If I win, it's nice. But even if I don't win, I will keep smiling."

It wasn't a happy start to the day for the two-time French Open finalist, however. At 0-4 and a double-break down in the first set, Halep had to switch tactics. After dragging it back to 5-5, the Romanian lost the tiebreaker.

"I want to forget those games because was not exactly what I wanted to play at the beginning, but just didn't feel it," Halep said. "I stayed focused. I never gave up. So I think that's why I won today. My head won it."

Next up will be a semifinal showdown with No. 3 seed Garbine Muguruza, who cruised past Maria Sharapova in their final four clash, dropping just three games.

"I have just to stay strong, to try to make her uncomfortable on court, and to try to play my game," Halep said. "She's a great player. She was in this position. She won this tournament. So tomorrow is going to be a big challenge for me.

"I just want to play as I did today, and as I did every day. If I do that, I will be OK after the match, no matter the result."

No doubt Halep will be smiling again, too.


Muguruza motors on

Garbine Muguruza made light work of Maria Sharapova to reach the French Open semifinals. The 2016 champion -- and reigning Wimbledon champion -- is still yet to drop a set in Paris this year.

Interesting nugget from our Stats & Info team: Garbine Muguruza is 3-0 in major semifinals in her career. The only women in the Open Era to win their first 4 career major semifinal appearances are Evonne Goolagong and Mary Pierce. Goolagong was courtside to watch Muguruza’s victory over Maria Sharapova, too.

Rob Bartlett, ESPN UK Associate Editor17d ago

Goolagong won the Roland Garros title in 1971, as well as the mixed doubles title there in 1972.


Happy birthday, Bjorn Borg -- from Diego Schwartzman

Rafael Nadal hadn't lost a completed set at the French Open since his straight-sets quarterfinal defeat to Novak Djokovic in 2015. Since that match the Spaniard had won 37 consecutive completed sets at Roland Garros, the second-longest streak in the Open Era behind Borg (41 in 1979-81).

That changed Wednesday, as No. 11 Diego Schwartzman took the opening set of their quarterfinal match 6-4 before it was curtailed by the weather.

Borg's record is still intact -- and he probably owes Schwartzman a drink.


Caption this

"Hey, Rafa, how about letting someone else win a set for a change?"


Beware of false profits?

For the first time since 2010, there were no women in Forbes' top 100 richest athletes list when it was published Wednesday. Maria Sharapova was asked about this during her post-match news conference Wednesday and, safe to say, she doesn't pay much attention to it:

Question: Forbes just issued a list of the top-earning athletes. And out of the top 100, there are actually no female athletes in that list. You're one of the most successful athletes of all time, and you're also very successful in business. What are your thoughts that in financial terms, at least, there are no female athletes in that top 100 list? And can anything be done to redress that balance?

Sharapova: Do you believe in that list?

Question: Well, it's based on certain factors, but ...

Sharapova: Which are what?

Question: Economic factors of perceived earnings.

Sharapova: "Perceived" is the word we're looking for.

Question: Female athletes aren't getting the recognition they deserve. What are your thoughts in general terms that maybe female athletes are not getting the recognition that they deserve?

Sharapova: I think my answer to that is I don't take those lists very seriously.


Celeb watch

Grand Slam tennis always brings out the famous. A couple of on-court gems, today:

And former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba was there, too.


Rain, rain, go away

The bad weather brought about an early end to Day 11 at Roland Garros. The bright side? More action on Day 12 ...