Schiavone bottles up Bartoli to reach final
Updated: 2011-06-03 09:54
Francesca Schiavone of Italy reacts after defeating Marion Bartoli of France during their semi-final match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris， June 2, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
Marion Bartoli of France serves to Francesca Schiavone of Italy during their semi-final match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 2, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
* Holder and fifth seed triumphs in semi-final
PARIS - Francesca Schiavone compared herself to a fine Italian wine improving with age after the defending champion ended French hopes of Roland Garros glory with a semi-final win over Marion Bartoli on Thursday.
The 30-year-old Milanese gave a typically battling display to reach the French Open final with a 6-3 6-3 victory over the local hope with her usual array of drop shots and slices combined with a steely determination to block out the noisy crowd.
She meets Li Na of China, at 29 another late bloomer, in Saturday's final.
"It means that years can help a lot, the experience. Some years ago the champions were always young players. Now it is changing," Schiavone told reporters as she looked forward to only her second grand slam final.
"It's like wine. The more it stays in the bottle, it's much better."
Schiavone was a shock winner on the Paris clay last year but the fifth seed has looked a real contender from the start this time as bigger names were knocked out early.
A break for 5-3 in the first set came at just the right time for the Italian after some cagey exchanges, occasionally peppered with a neat drop shot or volley in the wind.
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