Simona Halep saved a match point and fought back from a set and 5-1 down to defeat Elina Svitolina 3-6, 7-6, 6-0 on Wednesday to reach her second French Open semi-final.
The third-seeded Romanian, who was runner-up to Maria Sharapova in Paris in 2014, will face Karolina Pliskova, the Czech second seed, for a place in Saturday’s final. Both women also have a chance of taking the world number one spot.
“I don’t know how I came back,” admitted 25-year-old Halep, who ran away with 12 of the last 13 games to avenge her loss to Svitolina in the Rome final.
Fifth seed Svitolina had looked well-set to become the first Ukrainian woman to make a Grand Slam semi-final. She allowed Halep just four winners in the first set and coasted into a 5-1 lead in the second.
Twice she served for victory at 5-2 and 5-4 before going on to waste a match point at 6/5 in the tie-breaker. Halep needed no second invitation, sprinting through the final set in just 20 minutes before taking victory with an ace.
Svitolina, who had been two points from defeat in the fourth round against Petra Martic, finished the quarter-final with 45 unforced errors. “She was playing tough, hard and strong,” said Halep. “Maybe I was a little lucky but I didn’t give up.”