PARIS -- Canadas Eugenie Bouchard played like someone who belonged in the final four of a Grand Slam on Thursday. She gave Maria Sharapova a stiff challenge at the French Open before the Russian veteran pulled away late for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory, derailing Bouchards attempt to become the first Canadian to reach a major singles final in the Open era. As painful as the defeat was for the 20-year-old from Westmount, Que., it will go down as another valuable learning experience on the heels of her first Grand Slam semifinal appearance at this years Australian Open. A look of dejection was etched on her face as she left the court after the nearly 2 1/2-hour long match. It was clear Bouchard wasnt just happy to be on the big stage. She wanted the victory and was crushed when it didnt happen. "She was actually very, very disappointed," Canadian Fed Cup team captain Sylvain Bruneau said on a conference call. "She was not speaking much and I think it shows how much she believes in herself. Sometimes those tough losses are painful but sometimes theyre good. "Sometimes you learn from it and they hurt a little bit and the next time youre in this position, you do a couple things differently and the outcome is different." Sharapova, the No. 7 seed, lost the first set for the third straight match, but again managed to turn things around. "It was a tough battle, it was what I expected," said Bouchard. "I didnt play as well as I had earlier in the tournament. Its always disappointing to be a bit off. I needed to be aggressive and go for my shots." Sharapova won eight of the last 10 games, and has now won 19 straight three-set matches on clay. "I would love to win those matches in two sets, but I always feel like I put in the work to be ready to play whatever it takes," she said. "If it takes three hours to win the match in three sets, I will be ready for that." Sharapova completed a career Grand Slam by winning the title at Roland Garros in 2012, but lost to Serena Williams in last years final. Bouchard, the No. 18 seed, was playing at the French Open for the only second time. Last year, she lost to Sharapova in the second round. "Im always disappointed with a loss," Bouchard said. "I expect a lot from myself. You know, I felt like I was close today and just came up a bit short. That happens sometimes. I feel like I played a lot of good matches the past two weeks, three weeks even, and so its sad to see it come to an end. "But it just motivates me ... I was still so close. That just gives me extra motivation to work hard in practice and get ready for the next one and have that belief that I can do it." Fourth-seeded Simona Halep of Romania defeated 28th-seeded Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-2, 7-6 (4) in the other semifinal. The final is scheduled for Saturday. Sharapova struggled a bit with her serve, double-faulting nine times and getting broken four times. But she made up for it with solid groundstrokes, either going for winners or waiting out errors from Bouchard. Bouchard took the early lead with her first break in the third game of the match, smacking a forehand winner to give herself a 2-1 edge. She quickly made it 3-1 by completing a run of winning 12 of 17 points. The pair traded breaks early in the second set, and then again later. But Sharapova managed to stay ahead and broke Bouchard for the third time in the set to even the match at one set apiece. "I dont feel that I played my best tennis, but to be in the semifinals of a Grand Slam and winning a match where I felt my opponent played extremely well, exceptional tennis, and I didnt feel that I was playing my best, I fought, I scrambled, and I found a way to win," Sharapova said. The Russian served first in the third set, and made her move in the fourth game, converting her third break point to take a 3-1 lead that she held onto until the end. "I constructed the points well but I didnt finish them as well as I could," Bouchard said. "In the third set, I didnt feel tired, but she does put so much pressure on you. She elevated her game later in the match, I tried to do my thing and I had a couple of chances but I didnt take my opportunities. "Maybe I let off a bit on my shots in the second and third sets." Bouchard, who lost to eventual champion Li Na at the Australian Open in January, saved four match points before Sharapova won it with a forehand that Bouchard missed on the other end. Bouchard and Carling Bassett-Seguso, who lost in the US Open semifinal in 1984, are the only Canadian singles players who have made the final four at a Grand Slam in the Open era. "The semis of a Grand Slam are always exciting," Bouchard said. "I felt good on the court. I enjoyed it on the big stage. I tried to compete (and gave it) my best. I love playing tennis so I enjoyed being out there. I actually felt better on court than I did in Australia." Sharapova won her first Grand Slam title 10 years ago at Wimbledon. She followed that with major titles at the U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008. But since she recovered from having right shoulder surgery in 2008, she has vastly improved her clay-court game and has won six of her last eight titles on the red surface. This year, Sharapova has already won clay-court titles in Stuttgart and Rome, and her six wins so far at Roland Garros give her an 18-1 record on the dirt this season. And like against Bouchard, its been tough to beat her in three sets on the surface. The last time Sharapova lost a three-set match on clay was at Roland Garros in 2010, when Justine Henin beat her in the third round. The loss ended a 10-match winning streak on clay for Bouchard, who came to Paris after winning a warmup event in Germany. Sharapova owns a 3-0 career record against the Canadian. She also beat the former Wimbledon junior champion last year in Miami. In the late semifinal, Halep played aggressive tennis from the outset. She finished the first set with 12 winners and seven unforced errors, while Petkovic had only three winners and 14 unforced errors. The second set was much closer as Petkovic played with more consistency, but the 22-year-old Romanian was able to close it out in the tiebreaker with a forehand winner. Both Halep and Petkovic were playing in a major semifinal for the first time. Taron Johnson Jersey . After a tight first half, the Croatians took command in Reykjavik after Skulason was dismissed for a professional foul in the 51st minute, but couldnt find a way past Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson and his packed defence. Eduardo had a weak shot cleared away from near the goalline after barely a minute for Croatia, whose substitute Ivica Olic forced a fine reaction save from Halldorsson in the 55th. Zay Jones Jersey .Y. -- Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff had an opportunity to experience an entire range of emotions in his first trip back to Buffalo to face his former team. http://www.officialbuffalobillsfootball....d-jersey-womens. Duhamel, from Lively, Ont., and Radford, from Balmertown, Ont., were third with 210.84 points. Teammates Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto were fourth. Duhamel and Radford, who were seventh at the Sochi Olympics, also won bronze at last years world championships in London, Ont. Colton Schmidt Jersey .Murray has played 20 matches in five weeks, winning three titles to climb to fifth in the ATP Race.The two-time Grand Slam champion also seeks to qualify for next months ATP World Tour Finals.Murray said: I always wanted to qualify for it, but also I want to get back into the top 8 players in the world and it makes a huge difference for seedings in the major events. Rafael Bush Jersey . Orlandos Glen Davis tried to get in the way, only to be driven back into the padding under the basket as the Pelicans forward slammed home a windmill jam.BOSTON - Hassan Whiteside was hardly shocked when Miami coach Erik Spoelstra designed a play for him late in the third quarter of a tight game.He was surprised when Spoelstra kept doing it, though.Whiteside scored half of his 20 points during a dominant stretch spanning the third and fourth quarters and Miami Heat held off the Boston Celtics 83-73 on Sunday to snap a two-game slide.He drew up a play and I scored on it, he just kept drawing them up, said Whiteside, who went 10-for-17 from the field. I really think he started believing I can make plays down there.Whiteside also had nine rebounds and blocked three shots, while Chris Bosh added 18 points and Tyler Johnson had 13, helping overcome the absences of Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng.Wade missed his second game in a row with a strained right hamstring, while Deng sat out his third straight with a strained calf. Wade, who injured himself in Tuesdays loss to Milwaukee, is averaging 21.4 points and 5.4 assists per game.Whiteside is more than making up for their absence, though, and Spoelstra isnt his only supporter.The 25-year-old has most of Miami in a frenzy following a wild week that included a triple-double and franchise-record 12 blocks last Sunday, and 24 rebounds on Friday.Its quite the story for the former castoff who signed with the Heat in November after playing in both Lebanon and China last year.He continues to surprise me, Bosh said. Hes a talented young fellow. We want to continue to push him and encourage him to play and do well.Avery Bradley and Tyler Zeller led the Celtics with 17 points apiece, and Brandon Bass had 15. It was Bostons third straight loss and fourth in its last five.Weve got to do a better job of finding our pulse at the defensive end regardless of whether the ball is going in the basket or not, Boston coach Brad Stevens said. When you miss the number of shots that we missed, I thought we let that affect how much we talked defensively. I could hear the silence and thats a bad thing.Both teams were coming off their worst shooting performances of the season. Miami was held to a season-low 33.0 per cent in a loss to Dallas, while Boston shot 35.6 per cent in a setback to Houston.Neither fared much better Sunday, with Boston shooting 37 per cent and Miami 41.6, but Whitesides 10-for-17 performance fueled the Heats third win in their last seven games.The suddenly surging 7-foot sensation was relatively quiet for the first two-and-a-half quarters before he began resembling the centre who came in averaging 15.3 points and 17.7 rebounds over his previous threee games, including a triple-double line of 14 points, 13 rebounds and a franchise-record 12 blocks last Sunday.ddddddddddddAfter Boston erased a 12-point halftime deficit, tying it at 55 with less than three minutes to play in the third, Whiteside had his way with the young Celtics.He scored Miamis final four points of the third and opened the fourth by scoring six straight points, including a pair of long jumpers that restored the Heats eight-point cushion.I hadnt seen him do that yet, Bosh said. I dont think hes seen him do that yet. It was a nice move.Spoelstra didnt seem to mind his big mans decision to shoot from the perimeter.If hes wide open and theyre disrespecting him and it comes within the flow of what we do, Im fine with that, he said.TIP-INSHeat: First-round pick Shabazz Napier, a Roxbury, Mass. native and four-year player at the University of Connecticut, scored five points in his return to Boston. . The Heat won the teams only other meeting this season, 100-84 in Miami on Dec. 21, 2014. . G Mario Chalmers played in his 486th game for the Heat, tying him with Keith Askins for fourth place on the teams all-time list.Celtics: F Tayshaun Prince, who scored 13 points in 21 minutes on Friday, didnt play against Miami. Prince was acquired from Memphis in mid-January. . The Celtics plan on departing for Tuesdays game in New York at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, weather permitting, to allow the team to watch the Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.INJURY UPDATESpoelstra said that Deng participated in pre-game workouts and is making progress, yet has not been medically cleared to return. He still feels just a little bit of something, Spoelstra said. You look around the league right now with strains, it could turn a lot worse if you dont take care of it fully. Youve got to be 100 per cent ready.TRAFFIC JAMBoston F Jared Sullinger, the only Celtics player to have started every game this season, got caught in traffic and arrived five minutes late to the teams walkthrough Sunday. He was replaced by Zeller in the starting lineup, but Stevens said it wasnt a big deal.POPPELGANGER?Stevens marveled at New England Patriots coach Bill Belichicks accomplishments, comparing him to San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, who has led the Spurs to five NBA titles. I think hes one of the guys that people across sports look up to, Stevens said of Belichick. Basketball people look at Belichick like people across other sports look at Pop.UP NEXTHeat: At Detroit on Tuesday night.Celtics: At New York on Tuesday night. 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