Ana Ivanovic and Lucie Safarova will clash for a place in the French Open final after comfortably defeating younger rivals at a windswept Roland Garros on Tuesday.
Ivanovic reached her first Grand Slam semi-final in seven years when she beat Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2 while Safarova booked a place in the French Open last four for the first time by seeing off Garbine Muguruza 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.
Serb seventh seed Ivanovic, 27, last made the semi-finals of a major on her way to her only Grand Slam title in Paris in 2008.
It will be her fifth last-four appearance at a major following similar runs to the 2007 and 2008 semi-finals at Roland Garros, Wimbledon in 2007 and the Australian Open in 2008.
“I don’t know whether to feel happy or old,” said Ivanovic, who has now won all her seven meetings against Svitolina, seven years her junior.
“It was very tough to play today( on Tuesday). The wind was really strong and the ball was bouncing all over the place so I just needed to stay calm and use my feet more.”
Ivanovic and Svitolina, who was bidding to become the first Ukrainian woman to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam, exchanged breaks in the second and third games of the opening set.
But the vastly more experienced Serb, watched from the stands by German World Cup-winning boyfriend Bastian Schweinsteiger, broke again for 3-1 to lay the foundation for clinching the first set.
Breaks in the first and seventh games of the second helped Ivanovic into a comfortable 5-2 lead and despite double-faulting on her second match point, she sealed victory on her third with a sweeping forehand winner.
Ivanovic was rewarded for her positive approach on Court Philippe Chatrier, her 37 winners to just eight for Svitolina telling its own tale.
Out on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Czech left-hander Safarova, 28, followed-up her fourth-round defeat of world number two and defending champion Maria Sharapova with a straight sets beating of 21-year-old Muguruza.
Safarova will be playing in her second career Grand Slam semi-final after making the last four at Wimbledon in 2014.
“It’s amazing to be in the semi-finals,” said Safarova who will hope to go on and become the first left-hander to win the title in Paris since Monica Seles in 1992.
“It’s hard to explain my feelings….wow! I am excited and ready to face Ana.”
Safarova holds a 5-3 career lead over Ivanovic with a win apiece on clay.
Ivanovic won on the way to her 2008 title in Paris while Safarova gained revenge at the tournament last year.
On Tuesday, she mastered the stiff winds better than 21-year-old Muguruza who also made the quarter-finals last year, beating Serena Williams on the way.
Muguruza survived a 10-minute seventh game in the opening set, saving four break points before Safarova swept through the tiebreak.
A crucial break in the sixth game of the second set was enough to put the veteran Czech, playing her 11th Roland Garros, on the way to the semi-finals.
The other quarter-finals take place on Wednesday when two-time champion Williams tackles Italy’s Sara Errani, the 2012 runner-up, and Swiss 23rd seed Timea Bacsinszky faces unseeded Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck.