The highest-ranked player left in the ladies’ draw of the 2014 French Open Simona Halep sealed a comfortable straight sets win over 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova to advance into the last-four.
The fourth seed cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Russia’s Kuznetsova in Court Suzanne Lenglen, to set up a semi-final meeting with Germany’s 28th seed Andrea Pertkovic, who roared into her first Grand Slam semi-final with another comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 win over Sara Errani.
Having retired her once-famous celebratory jig, Petkovic offered a smart bow to all four corners of the Philippe Chatrier, as well as a wide grin and plenty of waves.
It took the German just 28 minutes to blitz her way past Italy’s Errani in the first set, winning about 90% of her first serve percentage.
Errani broke in the opening game and consolidated that to claim a 2-0 lead, only to allow the German to break back and level at 2-2, before streaking ahead; winning four games on the trot to claim a 4-2 lead. After a slow start, Petkovic won six straight games to take the set 6-2.
And just like in the first, last year finalist Errani started strongly but fluffed an overhead on game point to help Petkovic break to love and level at 1-1.
After leveling the second set at 2-2, Petkovic broke with a backhand service return winner in the sixth game to move ahead 4-2.
With Errani’s serves being often times volleyed over by her opponent, Petkovic held on to a 6-2 second set win to become the first German woman to reach the Roland Garros semis since Steffi Graf won the 1999 championship.
But for Halep, 22, it was a proud moment, reaching her first Grand Slam semi-final.
The Romanian dominated an injury-laboured Kuznetsova, who had to leave the court early in the second set for a medical break.
The Russian had a break point in the second game but threw it away with a poorly-executed drop shot, allowing Halep to win their fourth- but marathon- deuce of the match, finally holding off for 1-1.
Several errors from Halep in the sixth game gave Kuznetsova the break in the sixth game to leave it at 4-2, but the 28-year-old followed up with three straight double faults to allow Halep bring the game to match point with a forehand winner.