Lucie Safarova has confirmed her place in Saturday’s women’s singles final of the French Opens overcoming seventh seed Ana Ivanovic in straight sets.
The 13th ranked Czech hit 36 winners and 31 unforced errors as against her Serbian opponent’s 25-35 winner to unforced errors differentials to reach her first final of a Grand Slam, 7-5 7-5.
Safarova will meet the winner of Thursday’s second semi-final between top seed Serena Williams and Swiss Timea Bacsinzky. Williams is bidding for her 20th triumph in a Grand Slam; her possible third at Roland Garros.
2008 champion Ivanovic was off to a blistering start at the Philippe-Chatrier, racing into a 3-0 lead. Both players held serves in the next five games before a forehand winner gave the 28-year-old her first break of the match to stay in contention.
Two double faults from Ivanovic handed Safarova her second straight break as she pulled 6-5 clear, before sealing the 46-minute long set with a forehand winner.
The 13th seed continued to dominate the tie and she dropped just her second of ten games since reclaiming initiative when Ivanovic fired an incredible cross-court backhand winner to trail 3-2 in the second set.
Ivanovic then held for a 3-5 deficit, handing Safarova the opportunity to serve for the match. It was nonetheless the 27-year-old who converted her second break point to level 5-5 but Safarova regained match point with her fourth break and went on to close out victory on her second asking with a forehand winner.
The win saw Safarova move 6-3 clear of Ivanovic in their career head-to-head and 2-1 at the Roland Garros, having also seen off the same opponent in the third round of the 2014 championship.
Safarova thus becomes the first Czech to reach the final of the clay Grand Slam since Hana Mandlikova in 1981.