PARIS, June 8 (Reuters) - Romanian Simona Halep produced one of the finest defensive displays of the French Open to claim a 6-4 3-6 6-3 semi-final win over Czech Karolina Pliskova on Thursday.
Halep, a 2014 runner-up at Roland Garros, recorded just 14 unforced errors in a two-hour long contest, frustrating Pliskova with her ability to soak up punishment.
The third seed could win her first grand slam title and take the world number one ranking with a victory against Jelena Ostapenko, who became the first Latvian to reach the final of a major.
On the day she turned 20, Ostapenko played fearlessly, bagging 50 winners during a 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3 win over Swiss Timea Bacsinszky.
The world number 47 became the first unseeded player to reach the women's singles final at Roland Garros since Mima Jausovec lost to Chris Evert in 1983.
Earlier in the day, Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and India's Rohan Bopanna pipped Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Robert Farah 2-6 6-2 (12-10) to win the mixed doubles title.
Highlights from day 12 of the French Open tennis championships on Thursday (times GMT):
- Romanian Simona Halep reached her second final at Roland Garros with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory over Karolina Pliskova.
- Halep is now one win away from claiming the world number one ranking and her first grand slam title. She will face Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in the final.
- Pliskova struggled to maintain her power hitting in the third set, taking her tally of unforced errors to 55 for the match.
- Second seed Karolina Pliskova breaks Simona Halep's serve in the sixth game and claims the second set 6-3.
- Pliskova storms back with some aggressive groundstrokes, hitting 13 winners in the second set.
- Halep won the opening set 6-4.
- Romanian Simona Halep took the first set 6-4 against an erratic Karolina Pliskova, who recorded 24 unforced errors in the opening 45 minutes of play.
- "I am really happy. I love to play here, I love you guys, you’re amazing. I’m just happy with the way I celebrated my birthday!" said Jelena Ostapenko, who turned 20 on Thursday, after her semi-final win.
"I was always playing aggressive and hitting the ball when I have a chance. It probably helps me to win today."
- Ostapenko also praised her coach Anabel Medina Garrigues, a former world number 16, who teamed up with the Latvian earlier this season.
"Thanks Anabel for helping me," she added. "For one month we have been working together. We are trying to improve my game and I think it’s working pretty well."
- Jelena Ostapenko defeated 30th seed Timea Bacsinszky 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3 to become the first Latvian to reach a grand slam final.
- World number 47 Ostapenko hit an impressive tally of 50 winners in the match that lasted two hours and 24 minutes.
- She became the first unseeded player to reach the French Open women's final since 1983.
- Swiss Timea Bacsinszky rallied back from 0-40 down in the seventh game to break Jelena Ostapenko's serve and win the second set 6-3.
- Ostapenko took the first set 7-6(4).
- Latvian Jelena Ostapenko claimed opening set 7-6(4) against Swiss Timea Bacsinszky in the semi-final after each player dropped serve three times during an hour's play on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
- Bacsinszky took a medical timeout to receive treatment on her right leg while trailing 4-3.
- India's Rohan Bopanna and Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Robert Farah of Colombia 2-6 6-2 12-10 to clinch the mixed doubles title.
- Dabrowski contesting in her maiden grand slam final became the first Canadian woman to win the mixed title at Roland Garros. (Compiled by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru)