Kuznetsova sets up Safina showdown

Svetlana Kuznetsova set up an all-Russian French Open final with Dinara Safina by beating Australian doubles specialist Sam Stosur in three sets in today's second semi-final.

Kuznetsova, the seventh seed, reached her second Roland Garros showpiece thanks to a 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-3 victory over the 30th seed on Philippe Chatrier court.



Top seed and title favourite Safina awaits compatriot Kuznetsova on Saturday after she beat 20th seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 6-3 in the first semi-final.



Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open champion and a finalist here in 2006 when she lost to Justine Henin, blew hot and cold today and will need to up her game if she is to get the better of in-form Safina.



The 23-year-old broke three times to take the first set and looked like she was going to clinch a comfortable victory when 4-2 up in the second.



Stosur, a winner of 22 doubles titles who was bidding to become the first Australian woman to make the French Open singles final since Wendy Turnbull in 1979, was at that stage making too many unforced errors but she launched a good recovery.



She broke back in the eighth game and then recovered from 5-2 down in the tie-break to reel off five straight points, taking the match into a decider.



After an extended toilet break and a change of top, Kuznetsova came back fighting and needed just one break - in the sixth game - to seal the win.



Despite the defeat, Stosur will be delighted with her campaign in Paris, which came only a year after returning to action following a spell out because of viral meningitis and Lyme disease.



During that period, between September 2007 and April 2008, she was barely able to get out of bed, let alone play tennis.



Safina had earlier reached her second successive final at Roland Garros, despite not being at her best against Slovakia's Cibulkova, the diminutive 20th seed.



"It obviously gives you much more confidence when you know you can still do much better," said Safina, who lost to Ana Ivanovic in last year's showpiece and was also defeated by Serena Williams in this year's Australian Open final.



"But being under pressure and still winning in two sets, I'm really happy with myself."



Cibulkova, who eliminated Maria Sharapova in the last eight, battled gamely in her first grand-slam semi-final appearance but did not have the power or variety in her game to seriously threaten the Russian.



She went 2-0 up in the first set but that was as good as it got.



Safina, 23, turned things around by winning four games on the trot for 4-2 and took the set at the fifth time of asking with an unreturnable cross-court forehand.



Cibulkova was receiving the backing of the crowd but it could not inspire her as she was broken in the fifth and ninth games of the second set to slip to defeat.



"I didn't handle the situation," said Cibulkova.



"I got nervous, I made a couple of mistakes and then I got in a panic.



"I felt fresh and I wanted to play good tennis, but today I didn't make it mentally and with my tactics."



The only previous all-Russian final in the Open era at Roland Garros came in 2004 when Anastasia Myskina defeated Elena Dementieva in straight sets.

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence