Petkovic, Halep into French Open semis

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iol news pic halep SAA62_TENNIS-OPEN_0604_11 REUTERS Simona Halep of Romania celebrates after winning her women's quarter-final match against Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia at French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe (FRANCE - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

Paris - Andrea Petkovic and Simona Halep completed the French Open semifinal pairings with straight-set wins Wednesday, and one of them will be in a Grand Slam final for the first time.

Petkovic, a 28th-seeded German, beat 2012 French Open runner-up Sara Errani of Italy 6-2, 6-2. The fourth-seeded Halep defeated 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, also 6-2, 6-2.

Neither Petkovic nor Halep has ever played in the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament. But they will meet on Thursday with a spot in the final against either Maria Sharapova or Eugenie Bouchard on the line.

Later Wednesday, eight-time champion Rafael Nadal was to face 2013 runner-up David Ferrer, while Andy Murray was playing Gael Monfils.

Monfils is trying to become the first Frenchman to win the title at Roland Garros since Yannick Noah in 1983.

Petkovic was first to complete her match on a wet day at Roland Garros. And although she had some trouble holding serve, her groundstrokes consistently landed near the lines, many of them for winners.

The match on Court Philippe Chatrier, the main stadium at Roland Garros, started under overcast skies after a three-hour delay. With Errani leading 2-1 but facing a break point, the rain returned.

Play continued despite the conditions and Petkovic broke with a forehand winner on her second break opportunity.

The drizzle continued until the changeover with Petkovic leading 5-2. By the time the second set started, the sun was out.

Although Petkovic was broken to open each set, she won the final six games of the first set, and the final four games of the second.

Petkovic had been 0-3 in major quarterfinals, losing at that stage at the Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open in 2011. Her ranking dropped after that, as low as 177th last year, because of a right knee injury.

Errani was the runner-up at Roland Garros in 2012, losing to Maria Sharapova. Last year, the 10th-seeded Italian reached the semifinals and lost to eventual champion Serena Williams.

Halep, the highest-seeded player remaining in the draw, lost in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January, her best previous performance at a Grand Slam tournament.

However, the Romanian has moved quickly up the rankings over the last year. In the last 13 months, she has won seven titles, second only to Serena Williams. But Halep is the only player to have won titles on clay, grass and hard courts during that stretch.

Sapa-AP



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