Schiavone to face Li in French Open final

Updated: 02 June 2011 22:03 IST

Defending champion Francesca Schiavone shattered Marion Bartoli's hopes of becoming just the second Frenchwoman in the Open era to reach the Roland Garros final on Thursday with a 6-3, 6-3 semi-final win.

Paris:

Defending champion Francesca Schiavone shattered Marion Bartoli's hopes of becoming just the second Frenchwoman in the Open era to reach the Roland Garros final on Thursday with a 6-3, 6-3 semi-final win.

Fifth seed Schiavone, who will turn 31 in three weeks' time, will tackle Li Na, the first Chinese player to reach a French Open final, in Saturday's title match.

Victory will make Schiavone the first player 30 or over to win a Grand Slam title since Martina Navratilova's 1990 Wimbledon triumph.

"I hope my experience from the final last year will help. It's a dream come true to reach another final," said Schiavone.

"But Li has had an amazing year. She was in the Australian Open when she lost to Kim (Clijsters). It will be tough. She is a great player and a great person, but someone has to win."

Schiavone's smarter, better-timed changes of pace, and her more convincing all-court game, proved crucial in a 40-minute opening set against Bartoli.

The Italian carved out the only break of the opener in the eighth game with a crosscourt forehand which forced Bartoli out of position

She followed it up with another deep forehand which left the Frenchwoman scurrying to recover her ground.

With the break secured, Schiavone claimed the set when Bartoli went long with a backhand.

It was just reward for the Italian whose positive approach in difficult windy conditions saw her hit three times as many winners as her opponent.

The 26-year-old Frenchwoman, a Wimbledon runner-up in 2007, broke to lead 2-0 in the second set but with a game point to lead 3-0, she was handed a warning for a time violation.

The sanction had an immediate effect with Schiavone, who went into the semi-final with a 4-1 career record over Bartoli, clawing back the break when Bartoli clumsily went hit long.

Schiavone had the momentum, breaking again in the seventh game for a 4-3 lead courtesy of a running forehand pass.

Bartoli then gave up three match points on her next service game.

But the experienced Schiavone only needed one and she took victory when Bartoli netted tamely.

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