Simona Halep through to French Open semi-final for first time

Will face Andrea Petkovic after straight sets win over Svetlana Kuznetsova

 Simona Halep  celebrates after beating Svetlana Kuznetsova  during their quarter final match  at Roland Garros yesterday. Photograph: Christophe Karaba/EPA.

Simona Halep celebrates after beating Svetlana Kuznetsova during their quarter final match at Roland Garros yesterday. Photograph: Christophe Karaba/EPA.

 

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

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.

“I strained a muscle during the [last 16] match against Safarova, and then I was struggling with the pain,” Kuznetsova told reporters. “I managed to do it without a medical timeout in the Safarova match, but today it got worse.”

Kuznetsova 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 her opponent netted a service return.

Tactical nous

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 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.

Lost focus

Despite that minor wobble, Halep managed to keep her composure, something she could not do in her first grand slam quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open this year when she lost 6-3 6-0 to Dominika Cibulkova.

“At that moment I didn’t know how to manage the emotions before the quarter-finals,” Halep,explained.

“I was very nervous on court and I couldn’t play my game. I couldn’t run the balls and I couldn’t hit. Today I was very relaxed. Was a tough day because I had to wait a few hours to play because of the rain, but still it was a perfect day.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.