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Jun 4, 2015 11:50 AM

Safarova advances to 1st Grand Slam final at French Open

The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) Lucie Safarova advanced to her first Grand Slam final with a 7-5, 7-5 win over former champion Ana Ivanovic at the French Open on Thursday.

The 13th-seeded Czech player, who upset defending champion Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, has not dropped a set in the tournament.

She will be up against either 19-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams or 23rd-seeded Timea Bacsinszky in Saturday's final.

Safarova is the first Czech woman to make it to the final at the French Open since Hana Mandlikova in 1981.

"It's a dream come true, I cannot believe it" said Safarova, having now beaten two Top-10 players for the first time at the same Grand Slam.

Safarova trailed 4-1 and 5-2 in the first set, before finding her stride and reeling off the next five games. She faltered when serving for the match at 5-4 in the second, though, hitting three double faults including one on match point before getting broken.

"I started a little slowly but I tried to keep up the level and tried to play very aggressive because that was the only way to get a win," Safarova said.

Safarova certainly took risks, hitting 36 winners compared to 31 unforced errors.

She was broken in her first service game as she struggled with Ivanovic's deep balls early on. But she broke back in the ninth game with a powerful backhand return. Ivanovic then made some sloppy mistakes, including two double-faults as she dropped her serve for the second time, and Safarova converted her first set point.

The left-handed Safarova saved two break points early in the second set, and instead it was Ivanovic who dropped her serve. After Ivanovic leveled at 5-5, the change of momentum did not last. The Serb dropped her serve in the next game and Safarova kept a cool head to serve out the match.


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