Simona Halep into French Open semi-finals

Romanian to meet Anna Petkovic after beating former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova at Roland Garros

Simona Halep of Romania returns the ball to Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia during their quarter-final at the French Open  at the Roland Garros. Photograph: Stephane Mahe / Reuters

Simona Halep of Romania returns the ball to Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia during their quarter-final at the French Open at the Roland Garros. Photograph: Stephane Mahe / Reuters

 

Romanian fourth seed Simona Halep outfoxed former French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-2 6-2 to reach her first grand slam semi-final on Wednesday.

Halep, junior champion at Roland Garros in 2008, will face Andrea Petkovic for a place in Saturday’s final after the German beat former runner-up Sara Errani, of Italy.

Russian 27th seed Kuznetsova, who won the title in 2009 to go with her 2004 US Open title, took a medical timeout after the first set and came back with her left thigh strapped.

She wasted break points early in the second set and made too many unforced forehand errors as Halep wrapped it up on the first match point when Kuznetsova netted a service return.

Not a hard hitter, Halep compensates for her relative lack of power with her tactical nous.

Prowling along the baseline, she moved Kuznetsova around with crosscourt shots, forcing the Russian to misfire.

She took the first game on her opponent’s serve, only for Kuznetsova to break back for 2-2 as the Russian played deeper. But Halep stuck to her strategy and won the remaining four games, taking the set when Kuznetsova sent a forehand long.

The Russian had her chance in the second game of the second set but she wasted her two break points with unforced errors.

She had two further chances in the fourth game, but Halep saved them with an exquisite drop shot and a superb backhand down the line to hold for 3-1. Halep, who converted six of her eight break points while Kuznetsova blew seven of her nine chances to steal her opponent’s serve, fired a few stunning return winners to break again in the fifth game.

With the contest virtually over, Halep lost focus and served three double faults in the last game, but still managed to close it down having not dropped a set in the tournament, conceding just over four games per match.

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