Dinara Safina into French Open Semis

Paris, Jun 3:
World number one Dinara Safina reached the French Open semi-finals on Tuesday with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Belarusian ninth seed Victoria AzaDinara Safina jubilates after winning at the French Open. (AFP Photo)
renka, whose hair-trigger temperament fell apart.

Top seed Safina will face either Russia's Maria Sharapova or Slovakian 20th seed Dominika Cibulkova for a place in the final.

Safina, the runner-up here in 2008, had stormed into the quarter-finals having lost just five games in four rounds, but it took only 20 minutes on Tuesday for the 23-year-old to drop five more.

Azarenka had defeated Safina for the first and only time in four previous meetings on her way to the Miami title in March and the 19-year-old, who knocked out defending champion Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round, came out firing, spearing a succession of flat, deep, forehand and backhand winners.

Three breaks of serve gave the blonde the opening set after just 21 minutes.

Safina dramatically reduced her error-count in the second set and with Azarenka's suspect temperament suddenly a factor, the Russian was two breaks to the good for a 4-1 lead.

But back came the Arizona-based Azarenka as she came out on top in a series of punishing rallies, taking two breaks of her own to level at 4-4.

She then undid all her hard work by handing the break straight back to her opponent and this time Safina did not let her opportunity slip away, with her capture of the set accompanied by another Azarenka racquet-bashing tantrum.

Safina broke to edge ahead 1-0 in the decider, with Azarenka remonstrating with herself and with her coaching team as her game crumbled.

The Russian broke a dispirited Azarenka to lead 5-2 before serving out the match when an Azarenka return caught the top of the net and fizzled out, rather like the player herself. 


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Title: Dinara Safina into French Open Semis

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