PARIS -- Maria Sharapova needed five match points to beat battling Canadian Eugenie Bouchard while Simona Halep rolled through her semifinal over Andrea Petkovic with ease to reach the final of the French Open.
Sharapova, the 2012 winner, struggled for almost two-and-a-half hours before beating Canadian Eugenie Bouchard 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 to move into a third straight Roland Garros final.
Halep will play the woman who beat her in the Madrid title match a month ago after defeating Germany's Petkovic 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) and coming through without losing a set.
"I feel amazing, it will be incredible to play the final here," said Romanian Halep. "Andrea played well but I was stronger in the end.
"I have a lot of confidence in myself, I've played well here. The next one will be tough. Maria is a great champion. Maybe I can take revenge for Madrid."
Four-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova was on the back foot in the early stages against the 20-year-old Bouchard, who will rise to eighth in the WTA rankings on Monday.
"I was not playing my best but I fought and scrambled and found a way to win," said Sharapova, into her third straight Paris final.
Bouchard won the opening set and mounted a fightback from 4-1 down in the 59-minute second set, which forced Sharapova to save herself repeatedly against the challenger playing in a second straight Grand Slam semi after Australia five months ago.
Sharapova salvaged the second to stay in the match after losing a 10-minute tenth game in which she double-faulted on two set points and saved a pair of break points before dropping to 5-all.
But the 27-year-old struck back to win the set as she broke Bouchard two games later, converting on a fifth set point.
"After losing the first, I started to return better and be more aggressive," said the Russian. "The second was a very tight set."
Sharapova used her big-match experience to turn the momentum in the third set, with Bouchard appearing to go off the boil slightly.
The Russian seed broke for 3-1 and took a 5-2 lead with some difficulty against an opponent who had won her last 10 clay matches and was 9-0 lifetime in slams after winning the first set.
Sharapova needed five match points in the final game to advance after nearly two-and-a-half hours. She has now won 19 straight three-set matches on clay.
"I put in the work to be ready to play for however long it takes. if it takes three hours, I'll be ready for that -- but I'll take a convincing win also," said Sharapova.
"She played an unbelievable match, her level was extremely high, I was fortunate to come up the winner."
Bouchard, while disappointed, knew she fought well.
"It was a tough battle, it was what I expected," said the Canadian. "I didn't play as well as I had earlier in the tournament. It's always disappointing to be a bit off. I needed to be aggressive and go for my shots.
"She fights for every point. If you don't go for it and take your chances, then good players will take the, it was a learning experience for me."
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