Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Top ranking and French final in touching distance for Pliskova

Romanian Simona Halep has shown the full extent of her defensive skills to beat Karolina Pliskova 6-4 3-6 6-3 and reach her second French Open final.

However, after looking more assured on her own serve in the second, Pliskova broke for a 4-2 lead to gain the upper hand in the next set.

Ostapenko defeated former world number one Caroline Wozniacki to become the first teenager to reach the semi-finals since Ana Ivanovic in 2007. Ostapenko has a chance to win her first career grand slam title at just 20 years old.

One half of the women's singles draw at the French Open has held to form, whereas the semifinal on the other half of the bracket includes a player who was 100-to-1 to win entering the event.

"I was scared but I refused to accept that I could not play, so I recovered faster mentally and I really wanted to be here", she said.

There are many similarities with the Serb who also relied on an all-out attacking style and Ostapenko is unlikely to reel in her game against the vastly more experienced Bacsinszky.

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Ostapenko edged a first-set tie-break but looked to have lost her way in the second when she dropped four games in a row. "I think it s a nice gift", said Ostapenko, whose win was greeted by the crowd singing happy birthday. "I'm playing a young player, it is a big challenge and it will be great to play here on Chatrier again". I expect her to give everything she has, to hit all the balls, to play with confidence.

Halep could have won the first set easier if she had converted break points in the fifth and ninth game.

Bacsinszky was left to ponder what might have been after losing in the last four of the Paris major for the second time, but took the positives from an impressive run.

The eventual champion on Saturday will be a first-time major victor while victory for Halep would crown her as the new world number one, replacing Angelique Kerber.

Halep finished a total of 14 winners against her 14 unforced errors, while Pliskova's 55 unforced errors cancelled out her 45 winners.

Halep, who lost to Maria Sharapova in the 2014 final, was thankful still to be in the tournament after her remarkable recovery from a set and 5-1 down against Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals.

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She is also hoping to win a maiden tour-level title at a Slam - a feat lasted accomplished by Gustavo Kuerten at the French Open in 1997 on the same day Ostapenko was born.

The third seed from Romania said: "I will play for two things: My first grand slam and number one in the world".

Gabriela Dabrowski and Rohan Bopanna fended off two match points Thursday before winning the mixed doubles title at the French Open.

Right from the off Ostapenko showed her confident best, crunching victor after winner, interspersed with unforced errors.

Her first-serve percentage was up at 71% and she won 79% of points behind it.

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