Lucie Safarova beats Ana Ivanovic to reach first major final
French Open Women's semi final - Safarova beat Ivanovic 7-5 7-5.
Lucie Safarova recovered from a shaky start to book a place in her first ever Grand Slam final with a straight sets victory over Ana Ivanovic in the French Open semi-finals.
Safarova, the number 13 seed from the Czech Republic, overcame anxious moments at the start and finish to defeat 2008 Roland Garros champion Ivanovic 7-5 7-5.
A pre-match huddle with boyfriend and Bayern Munich star, Bastian Schweinsteiger appeared to be doing the trick for Ivanovic as she raced into a 5-2 lead. The Serb served for the set, but completely imploded as Safarova won five games in a row to snatch the opener.
Just when it looked as if her title aspirations were floundering, the 13th seed shook off her jitters and unleashed her A Game to pummel Ivanovic into submission.
"It's a dream come true, I still cannot believe it. The happiness is unreal," said a jubilant Safarova, who will be aiming to become the first Czech to lift the Suzanne Lenglen trophy since Hana Mandlikova in 1981.
"When I realised that I could be in the final, I got tense... I was overthinking and couldn't really concentrate," she said. "But when I lost the serve I shook it off and played aggressive again.
The Czech, who defeated reigning champion Maria Sharapova earlier in the tournament, has yet to drop a set in Paris and it didn't take long for her to move within sight of the final.
Ivanovic had two big opportunities in the second game of the second set but could not convert, allowing Safarova to recover and secure her own break immediately after surviving the close call.
Safarova failed to serve out the match at 5-4, but another break gave her a second opportunity at 6-5 - and this time the 28-year-old from Brno held off the nerves to triumph in one hour and 52 minutes.
Safarova, hoping to become the first Czech to lift the Suzanne Lenglen trophy since Hana Mandlikova in 1981, will face either world number one Serena Williams or surprise Swiss semi-finalist Timea Bacsinszky in Saturday's showpiece match.