Tennis: Safarova silences Ivanovic to reach first slam final

Lucie Safarova in action against Ana Ivanovic during the semi-final match at Roland Garros in Paris on June 4, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA
Lucie Safarova in action against Ana Ivanovic during the semi-final match at Roland Garros in Paris on June 4, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA

PARIS (REUTERS) - Lucie Safarova became the first Czech woman in 34 years to reach the French Open final after she produced a sensational fightback to topple 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 7-5 on Thursday.

With her title aspirations floundering at 5-2 down in the first set, the 13th seed shook off her jitters and unleashed her A game to pummel Ivanovic into submission.

The left-handed forehand that had looked rather ordinary during the first seven games suddenly caught fire, helping Safarova to win 20 of the last 26 points in the first set.

Ivanovic surrendered the first set with a service return error, surrendered her serve in the 11th game of the second set with a forehand error and surrendered the match when Safarova smacked a forehand winner.

Safarova, hoping to become the first Czech to lift the Suzanne Lenglen trophy since Hana Mandlikova in 1981, will face either world No. 1 Serena Williams or surprise Swiss semi-finalist Timea Bacsinszky in Saturday's showpiece match.