Simona Halep reaches French Open final

Ross Houston
June 10, 2017

Young, who is from the United States, and his Mexican partner beat Fernando Verdasco of Spain and Serbian Nenad Zimonjic 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-3.

In a remarkable quirk of fate, both women were playing arguably the biggest match of their careers on their birthday.

They will face either 16th-seeded Colombian duo Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah or Ryan Harrison of the United States and Michael Venus of New Zealand.

Coming into the French Open, the number three-seeded Simona Halep did not disappoint, advancing to her second Roland Garros final after a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over the second-seeded Karolina Pliskova.

Unseeded Ostapenko downed Timea Bacsinszky 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-3 on her 20th birthday to become the first Latvian finalist at a major.

Halep had broken early in the third set and threatened to break again in the fourth game but Pliskova saved with an ace and went on to hold. But Halep responded with a break of her own while Pliskova had a chance to tie the match while serving, and then finished out the match by holding serve in the final game.

Halep marked herself out as a favourite for the title at Roland Garros after winning in Madrid and finishing runner-up in Rome, but a tumble in the Italian Open final left her with ankle ligament damage and cast doubt over whether she would play in Paris.

But Ostapenko regained her nerve to win the final three games in a row and clinch the match. "I love to play here, I love you guys, you're incredible, thanks for coming to support me". Fans celebrated Ostapenko's birthday by singing "Happy Birthday" to her at Court Phillipe Chatrier.

"I was always playing aggressive and trying to hit the ball when I can".

"Today I'm just gonna have fun with my family and my friends", Ostapenko said of her birthday plans. Coincidentally, Ivanovic was at Roland Garros Thursday to be honored by the French tennis federation immediately after Ostapenko's match.

Ostapenko fired 50 winners and 45 unforced errors in her victory.

In 1925, the tournament was opened up to players who didn't belong to French clubs, but it wasn't until 1933 that a foreigner won the title. In the second game it was the victory of Latvian in two sets, but the young Elena with the score 3:3 and 40:0 lost your feed for a few minutes and turned off of the game.

Halep won the first set after gaining an early break and from then on dominating and forcing errors off Pliskova's racquet.

Bacsinszky needed strapping added to her right thigh at 4-3 in the first set but it did not seem to affect her movement.

And it is the Romanian who will have that opportunity after she proved just the stronger in the deciding set.

FILE - In this September 12, 2015, file photo, Roberta Vinci, of Italy, left, and Flavia Pennetta, of Italy, pose for photos after Pennetta beat Vinci in the women's championship match of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in NY.

The Romanian was under pressure early in the decider but finally chased down a forehand and fired a brilliant cross-court victor to grab a 3-1 lead. Dabrowski and Bopanna entered the match against the seventh seeds, and won, 2-6, 6-2 [12-10]. It was her 47th Grand Slam tournament, the most ever played by a woman before earning a championship. Halep had lost to Maria Sharapova in the 2014 final. The former No. 1 player was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2012.

"I hope this time I can play better", Halep said, "and I can win it".

Read: What now for Novak Djokovic after shock quarterfinal loss?

The other semifinal match will pit top-ranked Andy Murray against 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka.

The Latvian has been the surprise package of a wide open tournament having never previously been beyond the third round at a slam.

Bacsinszky's scouting report on Ostapenko, a pal she played doubles with past year?

This will be the first time these two have met on the tennis court.

Jelena Ostapenko celebrates a point during Thursday's semifinal match against Timea Bacsinszky.

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