Halep hoping for third time lucky in Paris

Simona Halep is in ominous form following her 6-1 6-4 semi-final win over Garbine Muguruza

Simona Halep has reached her third French Open final and held on to the world No.1 spot with victory over Garbine Muguruza.

The Romanian is yet to win a grand slam title but looks ominously ready to break her duck at Roland Garros when she faces Sloane Stephens in the decider on Saturday.

Muguruza had hammered Maria Sharapova in the quarter-final but Halep was a different proposition entirely - and it seemed she knew it. A nervous start from Muguruza was immediately pounced upon by Halep for a break in the opening game.

Half an hour later 1-0 had become 6-1 and the challenge of Muguruza, who would have taken over at the top of the rankings with victory, appeared to be fading fast.

She improved in the second set, breaking early on only to be pegged back at 4-4 before Halep held a marathon ninth game and broke for a 6-1 6-4 win.

"I'm really, really happy that I won this match," said Halep, who lost to Jelena Ostapenko in the final last year.

"It was really important for my mind to know I could win against a great opponent.

"It's a pleasure to play here. I'm happy to play the final again at my favourite grand slam. I'll try my best and hopefully do better than last year."

Halep will face Stephens after the US Open winner maintained her perfect record against fellow American Madison Keys with a 6-4 6-4 win in the other semi-final.

In the first all-American Roland Garros semi-final since 2002, the 10th-seeded Stephens stayed composed throughout as Keys, who has not won a set against her in three meetings, peppered the court with unforced errors.

Regardless of result against Halep, the 25-year-old Stephens will become the first American to break into the top five in the WTA rankings since Lindsay Davenport - Keys's coach - in 2006.

"It's always hard to play someone from your country and such a good friend, but I'm happy I played my tennis," Stephens said.

"This is one of my favourite tournaments and I'm looking forward to Saturday."