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.
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.
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.
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.”