Safina, Kuznetsova in French Open final

June 4, 2009 at 12:56 PM
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PARIS, June 4 (UPI) -- Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova, meeting in their third finals in five weeks, advanced Thursday to the championship match of the French Open in Paris.

Safina advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 win over 20th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova while Kuznetsova survived a tough 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 win over 30th-seeded Samantha Stosur.

Safina, ranked No. 1 in the world, and Kuznetsova, seeded seventh in Paris, have split two clay-court finals in recent weeks. Kuznetsova won at Stuttgart and Safina at Rome. Saturday's Grand Slam title match will break that tie.

It is the third Grand Slam final for Safina, who was the runner-up at the 2008 French Open and the 2009 Australian Open. She is 20-1 in matches since taking over the No. 1 ranking.

Cibulkova broke Safina's serve to open the match and was up 2-0 before Safina won five consecutive games. The set ended when Safina cashed her fifth set point chance with a forehand that Cibulkova couldn't handle.

Safina had second-set breaks in the fifth and ninth games, advancing when Cibulkova hit a backhand into the net.

Kuznetsova is looking for her third Grand Slam title, having won the French Open in 2006 and U.S. Open in 2004. After taking the first set Thursday she appeared in control, up a break in the second, only to have Stosur forced a tiebreaker and win the set by taking the last five points.

Kuznetsova went ahead in the third set with a sixth-game break for a 4-2 lead and held serve from there with a forehand winner setting up match point.

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