Paris • This is what Maria Sharapova does. She digs herself a big hole in a match, then figures a way out, no matter what it takes.
She hits shots left-handed. Takes her time between points. Pumps her fists and screams "Come on!" after her opponent’s mistakes. And wins.
French OpenMen’s and women’s quarterfinals, Wednesday, 6 a.m.
TV » ESPN2
Novak Djokovic (2), Serbia, def. Milos Raonic (8), Canada, 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-4. Ernests Gulbis (18), Latvia, def. Tomas Berdych (6), Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Maria Sharapova (7), Russia, def. Garbine Muguruza, Spain, 1-6, 7-5, 6-1. Eugenie Bouchard (18), Canada, def. Carla Suarez Navarro (14), Spain, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-5.
Did it in the fourth round at the French Open, turning things around by winning the last nine games. Did it Tuesday, too, reeling off nine of the last 10 games to put together a 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory over 35th-ranked Garbine Muguruza of Spain that put 2012 champion Sharapova in the semifinals at Roland Garros for the fourth consecutive year.
"When you just don’t feel like anything is going your way, you want to try to find a little door to get into," Sharapova said. "Once you start feeling … like you got your foot in the door, then it’s a little bit easier."
After beating one 20-year-old, Sharapova faces another, 18th-seeded Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, who earned a semifinal spot for the second straight Grand Slam tourney.
Like Sharapova, Bouchard was not fazed by falling behind in the quarterfinals. Bouchard trailed 5-2 in the first set, and 4-1 in the third, but beat No. 14 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-5.
Tuesday’s men’s quarterfinals offered far less intrigue. No. 2 Novak Djokovic kept up his bid to complete a career Grand Slam by muting Milos Raonic’s dangerous serve and defeating the eighth-seeded Canadian 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-4. Djokovic’s next opponent is No. 18 Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, who followed his victory over Roger Federer with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 6 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
Djokovic, 27, and Gulbis, 25, go way back, having overlapped in their early teens at a German tennis academy. Their paths quickly diverged, with Djokovic focusing on tennis and thriving, with six major titles. Gulbis says he enjoyed the nightlife too much for his game’s good, and only recently did he realize he needed to take his job more seriously.
"It’s really important, for my happiness, just to be successful on the tennis court," Gulbis said. "Forget about the money [and] fame. It’s just about my inner comfort. That’s it."
Djokovic will be playing in his 22nd career Grand Slam semifinal; Gulbis in his first. Similarly, Sharapova is headed to her 18th, Bouchard her second.
Wednesday’s quarterfinals matchups are: No. 1 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 5 David Ferrer; and No. 7 Andy Murray vs. No. 23 Gael Monfils for the men.
On the women’s side, No. 4 Simona Halep faces No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova; and 10th-ranked Sara Errani will play No. 28 Andrea Petkovic.
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