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Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 17:54 UK

French Open day 12 as it happened


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By Chris Bevan

1751: That's all from me for today, and indeed the tournament. Piers will be back to take you through those semi-finals, when we will find out if Roger Federer can move closer to that elusive French crown. Tomorrow, from 1200 BST we will see Soderling v Gonzalez, followed by Federer v Del Potro. That's live on the Red Button, streamed on the website (UK only) and audible on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra. Enjoy.

1746: But before then, we will find out who will contest the men's final. The men's semi-finals on Friday see Roger Federer take on Juan Martin del Potro and Robin Soderling play Fernando Gonzalez.

1743: Right then, that result means it's an all-Russian affair in the women's French Open final in Paris on Saturday. Top seed Dinara Safina takes on seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova for the title.

Sam Smith on the Red Button: "That was a real struggle for Kuznetsova - maybe the difference was that she was the most composed player in the end. But what a performance by Samantha Stosur in her first Grand Slam semi-final."


1735: "Stosur's level has dropped off," according to John Lloyd on the Red Button, but the 30th seed is fighting for her life here and that forehand helps her hold to pull back to 5-3. Kuz to serve for the match next, though, and we know how good she is in these situations...

1730: Er, as predicted by Sam Smith and anyone who has seen Kuznetsova play before, the seventh seed produces her worst serving of the set as she looks to consolidate her break. But Stosur goes downhill too and, although she has a sniff at 15-30, more mistakes put Kuz on the brink of a place in the final at 5-2.

Sam Smith on the Red Button: "Kuznetsova has got some breathing space but with her that doesn't really mean a lot, especially at Roland Garros this year - she has let a lot of leads slip away ."

1727: Hmmm. A bit of chat on 606 about whether Kuz is struggling with that ankle/foot injury but she seems alright to me - moving fluidly around the court before coming in to put away a winner and move to 0-30 on the Stosur serve. She keeps up the pressure too and a wild forehand into the tramlines by Stosur gives the Russian a break and a 4-2 lead in the decider. Is this the beginning of the end?

1725: Oooh. A bit of a scare for Kuz on serve - she faces the first break point of the deciding set at 30-40 but two big serves help to dig her out of a hole. The Russian holds to lead 3-2.

It's good news for a Briton
1722: I bring good news. Britain's Heather Watson and her Hungarian partner Timea Babos are through to the semi-finals of the girls' doubles after completing that second-set comeback. The third seeds beat Katarena Paliivets and Chanel Simmonds 6-3 6-4 and will play Kirillova & Trevisan or Holland and Rogowska next.

1718: Stosur is certainly serving a lot better now. In fact she is positively slamming them down - maybe that could be used as a nickname for her in some way? The Australian holds and we are still all-square at 2-2 in the decider.

Text in your views on 81111
From Joanna, post of writing an essay, via text on 81111: "Typical, the one bit I miss (the tie break) seems to have been the best. Still, Kuzy to win!"

Sam Smith on the Red Button: "I worry for Kuznetsova if she gets near the finishing line again. Stosur looks by far the most relaxed of the two players at the moment."

1711: Neither player could hold serve to save their life at the start of this match - things are very different now, though, and some terrific forehands help Kuz rattle through her latest service game to lead 2-1 in the decider.

Sam Smith on the Red Button: "I just feel that Stosur has looked a different player since the middle of the second set - she just seemed to loosen up and relax and she is playing a lot better."

1707: We're back under way and Kuz did indeed change her outfit - she was wearing black and pink before, now she is bedecked in pink and white. She starts the deciding set against Samantha Stosur with a bang too, firing in some big shots to hold very convincingly, for the first time in a long time.

It's good news for a Briton
1700: A bit of a delay before the deciding set of this semi-final - Svetlana Kuznetsova has left the court, to change her outfit, we think. Elsewhere, Heather Watson and Timea Babos have fought back from 0-3 to 3-4 on serve in the second set of their girls' doubles match - that one is a quarter-final by the way.

1658: Wowsers! This one has, belatedly, turned into a real thriller. Kuz has two serves for the match at 5-4 but cannot take either of them and Stosur hits back to take the next three points, win the tie-break 7-5, and level the match at one-set all.

1652: Hmmm. Sam is in a spot of bother now - she loses the next two points, both on her own serve after Kuz comes out on top in the best rally of the match and the Australian puts a simple overhead into the net. Kuz leads 4-2 in the tie-break at the changeover and is three points from the final.

1649: Phew. Kuz is still finding it tough and she only just holds to take us into a second-set tie-break. Predictably, we begin with two mini-breaks, before a wild Sam forehand puts Kuz up at 2-1.

It's good news for a Briton
1648: Your wish is my command JRS. Heather, who is playing with Hungary's Timea Babos in the girls' doubles, has just taken the first set 6-3 against Katarena Paliivets and Chanel Simmonds - although she is 3-0 down in the second. Back on Court Philippe Chatrier, Stosur holds again, so Kuz will serve to stay in the second set at 5-6.

Text in your views on 81111
From JRS via text on 81111: "What about some support for the last remaining Brit, Heather Watson, in the girls doubles?"

1642: Kuz is not moving around to freely at the moment either - perhaps that foot injury from earlier (I think it was actually her ankle) is causing her problems? Anyway, she holds her nerve to make it 5-5. I still get the feeling that either of these players could disintegrate (not literally) at any time but, for now, they are both holding it together.

Text in your views on 81111
From anon via text on 81111: "The British underdog supporter in me wants Stosur to win, but I also don't want a dull final. Only Kuznetsova can give Safina a match."

1635: Stosur's on a roll you know. At 30-all she is wobbling again but she wrong-foots Kuz with a big rolling forehand and serves out to win her third game in a row and lead 5-4. The Russian is under pressure here, and we know how she normally handles that...

1631: The comeback starts here? Kuz must know she is on the brink of victory and promptly loses her way - she throws in her first two double faults of the match to give Slammin Sam a sniff. The Australian sees two break points come and go but the Russian puts a forehand in the net on her third and we are level in this second set at 4-4. Game on.

1624: Stosur is still not firing on all cylinders but is hanging in here - at 30-all and deuce she is in trouble but finds a couple of deep serves and an inside-out (NOT back-to-front) forehand down the line sees her hold. Just. Kuz leads 4-3 and serves next.

1620: Ah, a few of you on 606 are asking what a back-to-front forehand is (see 1558) and the answer is: I don't know. I actually meant an inside-out forehand - the former would probably mean running round the ball and slamming it in the wrong direction, or something - it would be an original shot, anyway. Back to Court Philippe Chatrier - Kuz is looking a bit nervous out there but holds to go a set and 4-2 up and edge towards a place in the final.

1615: I was starting to get worried there - at a set and 3-1 down, Stosur's first Grand Slam singles semi-final was going to be over very quickly unless she got going and, at last, she does. She holds but is still a break down at 3-2. In other news, I've just been invited to go on the Super Fantastic Breakfast Show on South African state station Radio 2000 tomorrow morning and talk about tennis. The only downside seems to be that they want my views at 6.30am...

Text in your views on 81111
From anon via text on 81111: "Safina will find it tough to win her first Grand Slam title? The way these two are playing she'll walk it!"

1607: Oh dear. Stosur started the second set with a far more convincing service game but she falls apart in her second. Far too many errors from the Australian, especially on her forehand, and Kuz is a break up again at 2-1, without doing very much at all, really.

Text in your views on 81111
From Mitch, bored in work via text on 81111: "Re 1537 Chris, don't put your tennis skills down - i remember you saying you got to the final of your local clay tournament last year! Did you go deep in the draw this year or drop out early Nadal style?!"

Well, it's not very often I do anything on a tennis court to draw comparison with Nadal but, this year, I sadly joined the great man in making an early exit from my very own RG, losing in the second round. I blamed the sun, wind and noisy women on the next court. It was all their fault, clearly...

Sam Smith on the Red Button: "That was not the best set of tennis Kuznetsova has ever played but she still won it. More errors than winners from both players though."

1558: Again, not exactly very convincing from Kuz, who is in more trouble on serve at 30-40, but she recovers well and eventually wraps up the first set 6-4 with a big back-to-front forehand.

Text in your views on 81111
From anon via text on 81111: "Does Svetlana translate as Sam?"

1549: Hooray, Sam has held too - it's catching! Kuz still leads 5-4 but she's in a spot of bother with her feet - her right foot in particular, which was heavily strapped when she came out on court. Something is still wrong, and she's taken a medical time-out so she can have the bandages looked at. When we resume, she will serve for the first set.

Text in your views on 81111
From Jamie via text on 81111: "Go Sam. I'm really happy she has made the semis. It is much deserved after the last 18 months."

For those of you that don't know, Stosur spent nearly 12 months out of the game after being laid low by fatigue-inducing Lyme's disease in 2007.

1543: Whoo! Kuz has just held serve. Now, that is not normally an event of note but, in this match, it is very much headline news. The seventh seed is still making errors but moves 5-3 up.

Sam Smith on the Red Button: "This is a very patchy match so far, from both women."

1537: Er, does anyone want to hold serve? This reminds me one of my matches, although I like to throw in a few more double faults just to make things interesting. Kuz, who is targeting the Australian's backhand, breaks yet again and leads 4-3.

From EdTennisFan on 606: "Here's a bit of trivia: Kuznetsova translates into English as Smith."

This is true by the way.

1531: Right then, we've now had six games on Court Philippe Chatrier and four of them have ended in breaks. Kuz looked great to win again on Stosur's serve but was all over the place when it was her turn. The score is 3-3 after stacks of mistakes from both players so far.

Text in your views on 81111
From The Ledge, in London via text on 81111: "Kuznetsova will definitely win this battle of power and speed."

1523: Hmmm. You probably also know that Kuznetsova has a tendency to completely lose her way at times, especially under pressure, and that's exactly what happens here as she looks to consolidate that break. Her serves barely flop over the net and Slammin Sam takes full advantage. She breaks back to 2-2.

Sam Smith on the Red Button: "Kuznetsova certainly has the weapons to overpower Stosur in this match - and that last game was ominous for the Australian."

1521: You probably know already that Kuznetsova's game is all about power, and after holding easily she steps it up in Stosur's next service game - a couple of big forehands help her break to lead 2-1. First blood to the Russian.

Text in your views on 81111
From Moo, in London (clearly bored at work and easily distracted) via text on 81111: "Yeah anyway.. enough about cheese and Pi.... LET'S GO, STOSUR!!! Wipe the floor with her!"

1515: And we're off. Stosur to serve first - she's never won a singles title but the Aussie is a doubles star and she shows why with some neat serving and a couple of nice volleys to hold with ease.

1511: Afternoon folks, yep, if you give this page a cheeky refresh, you'll see that Cheesy has signed off and I'm going to take you through Stosur-Kuznetsova. The players are out on court now and warming up...

By Caroline Cheese

1506: Right then, the excitement's got too much for me so Chris Bevan is stepping into the breach for this second semi-final. See ya.

1503: Got to be honest, I'm over my initial enthusiasm for Air's Moon Safari (on the BBC's Red Button) and would give anything for a quick blast of Joe le Taxi or something else French. Mercifully, Slammin Sam Stosur is on her way onto court - which will be good news for my Aussie colleague who's just emailed. She looks all business, while opponent Svetlana Kuznetsova is her usual smiley, girly self.

Text in your views on 81111
From Keebs, Leicester, via text on 81111: "Re Neil at 1431: To nine decimal places it is 3.141592654. It's the only bit of maths I can remember from my school days 25 years ago, and when asked by my wife why I had retained such a useless nugget of information, I always insisted it would come in handy eventually. Little did I know it would be while watching a text broadcast of a tennis match. Thanks for allowing me to display my capacity for remembering rubbish though."

1457: Dinara Safina reaches the final for the second year in a row, but if she plays like that on Saturday, tough to see her winning her first Grand Slam title. A very odd match, and if Dominika Cibulkova had taken any of the chances that came her way, it might have been very different.


1453: Safina rifles a superb forehand onto the baseline for a winner and she has two match points...

1450: Both these players have hit more errors than winners. Safina now a game at 22-23, and Cibulkova at 18-10. The Russian is one game away from the final now at 5-3.

Text in your views on 81111
From anon via text on 81111: "She is Marat's sister alright..."

1444: Dinara Safina emits a noise much like a distressed guinea pig as another groundstroke goes awry. I imagine. Despite this, Cibulkova manages to keep her focus and pegs Safina back to 4-3.

1435: Safina serves at game point but it bounces BEFORE IT HITS THE NET! This ain't a classic folks. More break points for Cibulkova but still she can't take them and, more by luck than judgement, Safina leads by a set and 4-2.

1431: Not looking good for Dominika Cibulkova and her legion of fans. She is broken and now trails by a set and 3-2.

From Neil via text on 81111: "Cheese, what's pi to 15 decimal places?"
Tim Henman?

1420: Now Safina's in a little strop, telling her left hand exactly how rubbish she thinks she's playing. All very entertaining - but no breaks yet and Cibulkova leads 2-1.

Text in your views on 81111
From Andy, fed up and rejected at work having just lost a bid, via text on 81111: "Re 1401: Cheese, I think you mean hope for people under 38. Dangerous Dick's exploits are no encouragement when you're 56. But had it been Jimmy Connors..."

1416: Much huffing and puffing from Cibulkova as she loses a very tight game there. She just seems to tighten up on the big points, which isn't going to get her very far, take it from me. Now 1-1 in the second set.

Get involved on 606
From tgsgirl on 606: "Re 1401: Cheese, Dick Norman isn't just 38, he actually quit a year ago. Obviously, he isn't very good at it."
Join the debate on 606

1407: What is this? Ask Cheese? Sharapova should be back in the top 75 on Monday. And Clijsters was offered a wildcard into Wimbledon but turned it down. The Belgian will return in Cincinnati ahead of the US Open. Cibulkova holds her opening service game at the start of the second set.

Text in your views on 81111
From anon via text on 81111: "Where will Sharapova be ranked by the end of the tournament? And has Clijsters officially entered Wimbledon yet? Safina will easily win the French. Thanks."

1403: Dinara Safina wins the first set 6-3 and is now a set away from her second Grand Slam final of the year.

1401: Bit of a shock in the men's doubles semi-finals: Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman beat the Bryan brothers 0-6 7-6 6-4. Dick Norman is 38! There's hope for us all...

1359: Well done Dominika. The Slovak sees off three set points and makes Safina serve for the set at 5-3.

1353: Cibulkova dumps a simple volley into the net to give Safina a third set point - but the Russian wallops her return long. Back to deuce. I think we can all excuse Soph's (see below) cultural ignorance, but not knowing Dinara is Marat's lil sister? Tut tut. They have different surnames because Russians have a male and female version of the surname.

Text in your views on 81111
From Soph in Durham via text on 81111: "Quick question: is Safina Marat Safin's sister? If so why do they have different second names? Excuse my cultural ignorance."

1346: That's three games in a row that have gone to deuce, and three games Safina has won. She now leads 5-2.

Text in your views on 81111
From anon via text on 81111: "Re Ade at 1336: Easily beat Del Potro? He is fifth in the world and more importantly Cheese's mum's pick."
That last bit is emphatically not true. Del Boy won't have registered on my mum's radar because he has never done anything at Wimbledon. She is old school like that.

1342: Safina breaks and that's four games in a row to lead 4-2. As Sam Smith notes, the Russian is playing better on the big points.

Text in your views on 81111
Andy in Tooting, via text on 81111: "Re 1321: Cheese, my dad nearly killed the bloke at the deli counter who asked him if he wanted to try stilton with cranberries. However, I do recommend cheddar and fruitcake together."
Maybe a bit of an overreaction but I understand his anger. It's just wrong.

1336: Safina saves two break points before taking the lead for the first time at 3-2. And in answer to Ade (see below): yes, he would draw level with Sampras in terms of Grand Slam wins and will have won all four titles so it would be hard to argue against him being the greatest. Tomorrow's semi-final may come down to how Del Potro handles the pressure, not Federer. Del P isn't talking like a man who's all that confident about his chances. Oh, and sounds like a decent bet.

Text in your views on 81111
From Ade, Cannock, via text on 81111: "If Federer wins on Sunday, will that make him the greatest player in the modern era? If so, will that added pressure force him to lose against Del Potro, a game he would ordinarily easily win? Oh, and I have just put 20 quid on Murray to win the US Open this year."

1328: "Un peu de silence," barks the umpire as some latecomers make their way onto Phillipe Chatrier. Safina's power begins to tell in that game as she races into a 40-0 lead, partly thanks to some brutal returning. She breaks back and it's 2-2.

Text in your views on 81111
From Steve, slightly mad in Swindon, via text on 81111: "If these players were cheese, Cibulkova would be a Port Salut, young and fresh but overall just a bit to weak. Surely the strong Roquefort'esque Safina will win in straight sets."

1325: Dinara Safina is on the board, holding serve to trail 2-1 in the first set. Match still yet to settle into any sort of rhythm.

Text in your views on 81111
Anon via text on 81111: "Let's be honest is anyone really that interested in today? I looked at the order of play and thought 'might as well go watch the new Terminator movie' - I will let you know if it's any good Cheese."
Your loss, anon, your loss...

1321: Did I say text in with your favourite cheeses? I don't think so... Although whoever it is who thinks wensleydale with apricots is a reasonable answer needs to have a long hard look at him/herself.

1316: Perfect start for the underdog, Cibulkova breaking straight away and it looks like her tactic is to move Safina around as much as possible. The right tactic, I would think.

Text in your views on 81111
From Jon via text on 81111: "Hope Safina wins so much... She deserves to reap the rewards for all her hard work in the off season."

1312: Mark Petchey tells us that Dinara Safina's favourite actress is Hilary Swank. I'm not sure what to make of that. Anyway, the Russian will serve first...

1310: Just the one text so far, asking me what my favourite cheese is. Desperate times. If you wouldn't mind dropping me a line on 81111, I'd be ever so grateful. Or join the merry throng on 606. Your call. Oh, it's Port Salut, by the way.
Join the debate on 606

Sam Smith on the Red Button: "Will Cibulkova get stage fright? Will she be able to cope with the power of Dinara Safina? And if she gets near the winning post, will she be able to see it through? Certainly in her last two matches, she got very tight near the end."

The sun is out
1304: Bright sunshine in Paris as Dinara Safina and Dominika Cibulkova head out onto Phillipe Chatrier. This is Cibulkova's first ever Grand Slam semi-final, but she looks fairly relaxed at the moment.

1301: You don't need to be a rocket scientist to work out the coverage schedule today: both women's semis will be on the Red Button as well as streamed for UK users on this here website. Commentary also on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra.

1255: Well hello there. It's women's semi-final day. Crikey, I'm excited. You?

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see also
French Open day 12 pictures
04 Jun 09 |  Tennis
French Open day 11 as it happened
03 Jun 09 |  Tennis
French Open day 10 as it happened
02 Jun 09 |  Tennis
French Open day nine as it happened
01 Jun 09 |  Tennis
French Open day eight as it happened
31 May 09 |  Tennis
French Open day seven as it happened
30 May 09 |  Tennis
French Open day six as it happened
29 May 09 |  Tennis
French Open day five as it happened
28 May 09 |  Tennis
French Open day four as it happened
27 May 09 |  Tennis
French Open day three as it happened
26 May 09 |  Tennis
French Open day two as it happened
25 May 09 |  Tennis
French Open day one as it happened
24 May 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis

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