Skip to main content
/world sport
  Edition: U.S. | Arabic | Set Pref
French Open

Stunning comeback puts Safina through

  • Story Highlights
  • Dinara Safina back from the brink to defeat Elena Dementieva in three sets
  • The 22-year-old Russian is through to the first grans slam semi of her career
  • Safina will now play compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova for a place in the final
  • Next Article in World Sport »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

(CNN) -- Dinara Safina came back from the brink in her French Open quarterfinal against Elena Dementieva, to reach the last four of a grand slam for the first time.

art.safina.gi.jpg

Safina cannot hide her joy after coming back from the brink of defeat to reach the French Open semifinals.

The 22-year-old Safina found herself a set and 5-2 down at one stage but mounted a typically gutsy fightback to turn the match on its head and claim a hugely entertaining 4-6 7-6 6-0 win.

Three-set triumphs are becoming something of a party piece for the 13th-seeded Russian, who was also a set and 5-2 down against top seed Maria Sharapova in the previous round before powering into the last eight.

Safina, the sister of two-time grand slam winner Marat Safin, came into the French Open on the back of her best career win at the German Open last month and has had to draw on every ounce of self-belief that title gave her to reach the semis.

Safina had won all her previous clay encounters against compatriot Dementieva but it was the seventh seed who stole the early march, defending two break points in the fifth game before breaking for 5-4 and serving out for the first set with ease.

Dementieva was giving Safina the runaround with a number of well-placed baseline groundstrokes and appeared to be cantering into the last four as she streaked to a 5-2 lead in the second.

Safina looked all but dead and buried as she haemorrhaged points with a raft of unforced errors, but Dementieva failed to draw strength from her opponent's struggles and became jittery as she tried to serve out the match.

Don't Miss

First Safina broke for 5-3 and then when Dementieva brought up break and match point in the next game, her opponent again turned the tables to hold.

Another break in the next game finally swung the psychological edge in Safina's favor, and there was only ever going to be one winner as the set went to a tie-break.

With Dementieva's morale shattered, the deciding set was a cruise for Safina, who broke three times to whitewash her opponent and tee up an all-Russian semifinal against Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Fourth seed Kuznetsova progressed to the semis after a 7-5 6-2 win over unseeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi.

The big-serving Kanepi gained the early advantage in the match on Suzanne Lenglen Court when she broke the number four seed to surge 4-2 ahead.

The 22-year-old then was just a point from going 5-2 up before Kuznetsova -- the only grand slam winner left in the women's draw -- fought back to level the set at 5-5.

The Russian claimed a crucial break in the 11th game as Kanepi netted trying to save her serve, while Kuznetsova held it together in the next game, serving to love to take the opener.

The second set was a more one-sided affair as Kanepi's inexperience at this level began to show and the errors began to become more frequent.

Kuznetsova claimed the breaks in the second set to surge 5-2 ahead, and when match point arrived, the 2004 US Open champion showed her class by putting the match to bed with a glorious forehand winner down the line.

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print
Home  |  Asia  |  Europe  |  U.S.  |  World  |  World Business  |  Technology  |  Entertainment  |  World Sport  |  Travel
Podcasts  |  Blogs  |  CNN Mobile  |  RSS Feeds  |  Email Alerts  |  CNN Radio  |  Site Map
© 2009 Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.