Halep, Ostapenko to meet for French Open title

Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky and Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko advanced to the women's singles semi-finals in the French Open tennis championships.

Thirtieth seed Bacsinszky, who needed a bandage applied to her right thigh midway through the first set, looked the more likely victor at that point as she sought to celebrate her 28th birthday by surpassing her semi-final run of 2015.

The 2014 runner-up, who saved a match point in the previous round, will become world number one if she defeats Jelena Ostapenko, the daredevil Latvian who blazed her way to Saturday's final.

Bacsinszky received treatment on her right knee and consulted with the tournament doctor.

"I'm not ashamed to say that she played better", said Bacsinszky.

One might have guessed Halep knew she had an unseeded opponent awaiting her in the French Open final if she managed to eliminate Pliskova, such was the vigour with which she thundered at the home favourite on Thursday. "She was braver. She had more courage".

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Ostapenko's run at the French Open is her best Grand Slam performance so far and she will rise to as high as the top eight if she makes the final.

Pliskova would cut the deficit to 4-3 only to blaze a forehand long, leaving Halep to serve out the match after two hours.

"I said earlier that I will play for two things: My first grand slam and No. 1 in the world", said Halep.

Ostapenko said: "In some moments I felt a little bit tight because it was already the semi-final".

Pliskova was gasping for air after the longer points, but saved three break-back points in the next game and another forehand victor ensured both semi-finals would go the distance. Ostapenko, rightly so, has for the most part played this tournament like she has nothing to lose. She really wants this badly and is going to go to any length to win.

Westgate Las Vegas Superbook made Ostapenko 100-1 to win the title before the French Open began.

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With Bacsinszky serving at 3-5 Ostapenko, coiled like a spring, brought up two match points with an unstoppable backhand return that cleaned the baseline then smote a rasping forehand return victor that left her opponent flat-footed.

"The match was really tough, I think it was a battle", Ostapenko said.

Ostapenko, the world No 47, is the first unseeded player to reach the final in Paris since Mima Jausovec in 1983 while the last player to win their debut title at Roland Garros was Gustavo Kuerten on June 8, 1997 - the day Ostapenko was born.

Pliskova struck the ball ferociously, but paid the price for 55 unforced errors after being put under huge pressure by a relentless and vibrant Halep. "I'm playing a young player, it is a big challenge and it will be great to play here on Chatrier again". I hope to win this time.

Serena Williams, the 23-times major champion, is pregnant, double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is just back after being stabbed, five-times major champion Maria Sharapova has only recently returned from a doping ban and former world number one Victoria Azarenka has been out after having a baby. Especially since reuniting with her coach, who quit in March because of her negative attitude on the court, Halep, who's never won a major, has been considered a favorite to snap that drought here.

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