Defending champion Francesca Schiavone fought back from a set and 4-1 down to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and reach the semi-finals of the French Open. Pavlyuchenkova, the Russian 15th seed, broke three times to take the first set 6-1 and was within two games of her first Grand Slam semi-final. But the Italian fifth seed turned the match on its head, edging a thrilling final set to triumph 1-6 7-5 7-5. Schiavone will next play Marion Bartoli. Schiavone became the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam when she beat Sam Stosur in last year’s final while Marion Bartoli became the first Frenchwoman since 2005 to reach the last four of the French Open when she defeated 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 on Tuesday.
Bartoli, the 11th seed, will tackle defending champion Francesca Schiavone, who beat Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets, for a place in Saturday’s final. An untidy first set, which featured seven breaks of serve in 13 games, was predictably settled by a tie-break. Bartoli clinched it when Kuznetsova, the Russian 13th seed, misdirected a forehand off a deep approach. The 26-year-old Frenchwoman, a Wimbledon runner-up in 2007, was a break ahead in the opening game of the second set and backed it up with another break to lead 5-2. But the experienced Russian clawed a break back in the eighth game as Bartoli served for the match. Kuznetsova held for 4-5 but Bartoli claimed victory on her first match point when Kuznetova ballooned a forehand into the stands of Court Suzanne Lenglen.