Paris, June 5:
Dinara Safina needs only one more win to join her older brother as a Grand Slam champion.
Dispensing with the come-from-behind drama of her previous two matches, Safina advanced to the French Open final by beating fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-2.
Itâ€™s the first berth in a major final for the 22-year-old Safina. Her brother, Marat Safin, is a former No 1 player who won the 2000 US Open and 2005 Australian Open. â€œIâ€™m doing it for him and for myself,â€ Safina said.
Her opponent on Saturday will be the winner of the second semi-final, an all-Serb affair between No 2-seeded Ana Ivanovic and No 3 Jelena Jankovic.
Safina, seeded 13th, was one point from defeat against top-ranked Maria Sharapova in the fourth round and No 7-seeded Elena Dementieva in the quarter-finals before mounting comebacks.
But against the error-prone Kuznetsova, Safina jumped ahead 4-1 and led the rest of the way. By the second set she became so frustrated that after yet another errant shot, she angrily smacked a ball into the 12th row at the far end of the stadium.
The outburst failed to help. Safina broke in that game for a 3-2 lead and overcame two break points to win the next game. Soon she was serving for the match, and one last shanked forehand by Kuznetsova gave Safina the victory.
â€œIt feels amazing,â€ Safina said. â€œI didnâ€™t expect that I could get to the final. I think the less you think, the better it is. Because when you least expect it, the result comes.â€
The menâ€™s semi-finals on Friday will include the worldâ€™s three top-ranked players - No 1 Roger Federer, No 2 Rafael Nadal and No 3 Novak Djokovic - and Frenchman Gael Monfils, at No 59 the lowest-ranked menâ€™s semi-finalist at Roland Garros since 1999.
Monfils plays Federer, who is seeking the only Grand Slam title he has yet to win. Djokovic faces Nadal, who is 26-0 at Roland Garros and two wins from a fourth consecutive French Open title.