Safarova beat Ivanovic 7-5 7-5
Ana Ivanovic's first Grand Slam semi-final since winning at Roland Garros in 2008 ended disappointingly today, as Lucie Safarova maintained her unblemished record at this year's championships. The Czech number 13 seed recovered from a slow start to beat her Serbian opponent 7-5 7-5 on Court Philippe Chatrier. After knocking the number two seed and reigning champion Maria Sharapova out already, Safarova will now face either Serena Williams or Timea Bacsinszky in the final.
Shocks so far
This year's contest to decide who will lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen has already had its fair share of shocks. By the semi-final stages only Serena Williams of the top six players in the world was left 'standing'. Ivanovic, seeded seventh, was yet another to be knocked out by a lower ranked player, but only after she had seemed destined to take the first set early on.
Strong start by Ivanovic
Ivanovic looked the stronger player and was more in control of her game in the opening exchanges. She claimed an early break to lead 3-0 in the first set, after the Czech had hit some loose shots and double faulted on her own serve. Safarova finally got on the scoreboard but could do little about her opponent's serve as the score reached 4-1.
The sixth game was pivotal in terms of the outcome of the set and most likely the match. Ivanovic was still the dominant force as she had points for another break of the Safarova serve. She failed to take them, allowing some breathing space for her rival. A second break at that point could well have been decisive.
Ana to serve for the set
With the next two games going with serve, Ivanovic was left to serve out at 5-3 for the opening set. Her opponent decided that the moment was right to unleash a wonderful forehand to break back and with it seemed to gain in confidence. A solid hold followed and with the momentum firmly on her side, Safarova broke Ivanovic once again to unexpectedly take the set 7-5.
Match turned in Czech's favour
The Serbian player was struggling to stay in the contest but at least stopped the rot at five lost games on the bounce, as she held serve at the start of set two. She forced break points but failed to take her opportunity in a long second game. Safarova repelled the break points on offer and then struck clinically as Ivanovic pondered over her missed chances to move 2-1 ahead.
The break was maintained up to 5-4 to Safarova, but not for want of trying, as both players became nervy and wasteful in their shot-making. The Czech just needed to hold serve to clinch the match.
Maybe she tensed up as the finishing line approached, but the Serbian determinedly extended the contest by breaking back to level at 5-5. But just as soon as she was back in the set, she surrendered the next game back to her opponent. This time Safarova was less forgiving as her trusty forehand powered her into the final.
Wait goes on #TennisFor Ivanovic the wait to repeat that early Grand Slam success when she was just 20 years old goes on, whereas Safarova can look forward to her first major singles final. She can draw on her doubles victory at this year's Australian Open for some pointers, although she will have no-one to bounce her nervous energy off this time around.