Safarova Beats Ivanovic, Reaches First French Open Semifinal

Lucie Safarova rallied back from 5-2 down in the opening set to beat former champion Ana Ivanovic and move to her first French Open final.

The 13th-seeded Czech beat the former top-ranked Serbian, 7-5, 7-5 on the hottest day so far at the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris.

“It’s a dream come true,” Safarova said in a court-side interview, after she’d fallen flat on her back on the clay following her victory. “I started today a little slowly but tried to keep up the level and tried to stay really aggressive.”

Safarova struck 36 winners, and made 31 unforced errors. She broke her opponent’s serve four times.

Safarova, who had knocked defending champion Maria Sharapova of Russia out of the fourth round, plays either 19-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams or Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky in the championship match on Saturday.

Serving for the match at 5-4, Safarova double faulted three times, including once on match point. Ivanovic was unable to take advantage, getting broken in the next game with a wayward forehand. Once again serving for the match at 6-5, Safarova lost the first match point as Ivanovic ripped a winner, only for her opponent to take the third match point with a forehand.

Ivanovic rose to No. 1 in the world after she won the 2008 title. Today had been her first major semifinal since then.

The left-handed Safarova, who has now beaten Ivanovic six times in nine meetings, will be ranked inside the top 10 for the first time in her career after Roland Garros.

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