Halep conjures more tricks to reach first slam final

Thu Jun 5, 2014 3:21pm EDT
 
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Simona Halep conjured more magical shot-making to torment Andrea Petkovic and reach her first grand slam final with a 6-2 7-6(4) victory in the semi-finals of the French Open on Thursday.

The Romanian fourth seed, who will face 2012 champion and last year's runner-up Maria Sharapova on Saturday, had Petkovic under her spell in the opening set but had to fend off some spirited resistance in the second.

She fell a break down but recovered to force a tiebreak which she always controlled.

Halep, who has yet to drop a set in the tournament, ended the contest on her first match point with her 15th forehand winner.

"It's incredible I will play the final here in Paris," said Halep. "She played really well but I think I was a little bit stronger in the end.

"I have a lot of confidence in myself now. I played really well here. The next round will be tough. I played her (Sharapova) in Madrid. Why not take my revenge," she added.

Sharapova, who beat Canadian Eugenie Bouchard 4-6 7-5 6-2 in the other semi-final, has an 18-1 record on clay this season, including a three-set win over Halep in the Madrid final.

Injury-prone Petkovic, playing at the French Open for the first time since reaching the quarter-finals in 2011, said she had paid for a slow start.   Continued...

 
Simona Halep of Romania reacts during her women's semi-final match against Andrea Petkovic of Germany at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 5, 2014.        REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier