The battle for the Roland-Garros women’s singles wheelchair title will be played on Saturday (9 June) between top seed Yui Kamiji and second seed Diede de Groot.
Kamiji, of Japan, stayed on course for a third French Open championship after the 2014 and 2017 winner overcame Aniek van Koot of the Netherlands, 6-3, 7-6(8) on Friday (8 June).
“Really tough, especially the second set, she was really, really good,” said Kamiji.
The crowd on Court 7 were treated to a highly entertaining battle in a see-saw second set, during which van Koot squandered four set points before Kamiji took the match on her fourth match point in the tiebreak on an error.
“Always when I play against her it is difficult, but I am very happy and it is a good win,” said Kamiji.
De Groot seeking first title
Earlier in the day, Australian Open winner de Groot beat 2013 Roland Garros champion Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany, 6-3, 6-1.
The scoreline made it look easier than it was, de Groot said afterwards.
“It took me a while to get into the match,” said de Groot, who will be guaranteed to rise to the No.1 ranking after Roland-Garros. A quarter finalist in Paris in 2017, it will be her second time as world No. 1 this season regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s final.
“Normally, she attacks my backhand more, but today she hit a lot of balls to my forehand, which meant I was a bit late to get to the shots. But I stayed calm and worked it out, and I think that was the key to winning,” de Groot said.
After winning her first Grand Slam last year at Wimbledon, de Groot also took the Australian Open in January.
But reaching her first Roland-Garros title match “means a lot,” she said. “It is always very special we are able to play here, with all these top players.”
Although Kamiji has beaten de Groot eleven times in sixteen matches, she lost their last three meetings, including this year in Melbourne.
“This time, I hope I can do it,” Kamiji said.
Strategy will play a big part in Saturday’s final.
“She has power, more than Aniek, so I have to think how to put her out of position,” Kamiji said.
“She is very consistent, she is a terrific player who is very patient and will wait until she can make the winner,” de Groot said.
“And that’s very tough for a player like me, who likes to play fast points. If you have someone in front of you that prefers longer rallies, that will be a big battle. But it is always fun.”
Fernandez and Kunieda reach men’s final
World No. 2 Gustavo Fernandez reached his third straight Roland-Garros men's singles final after the 2016 champion from Argentina saw off two-time winner Stephane Houdet of France, 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-3.
Fernandez plays Japanese legend Shingo Kunieda in Saturday’s final, which will see the winner go to No.1 in next week’s men’s singles rankings.
Kunieda, a six-time winner on the Parisian clay, dispatched Britain’s Gordon Reid, 6-2, 6-0, in just 53 minutes.
Kunieda, the reigning Australian Open champion, leads Fernandez 18-5 in career-head-to-heads.
Cattaneo and Olsson into men's doubles final
More than ten years since they last joined forces as a doubles partnership Frederic Cattaneo and Stefan Olsson enjoyed their biggest success when they beat second seeds Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid to reach the men's doubles final.
Cattaneo and Olsson won 6-4, 6-4 and they will now meet top seeds and defending champions Houdet and Nicolas Peifer, who had to save two match points in the deciding match tiebreak in their semi-final before overcoming singles finalists Fernandez and Kunieda 4-6, 6-3 (13-11).
De Groot and van Koot completed their women's doubles semi-final with an unblemished record against Charlotte Famin and Kgothatso Montjane, defeating the French-South African combo 6-0, 6-0.
The all-Dutch second seeds play reigning Roland-Garros champions Marjolein Buis and Kamiji in the final after the top seeds fought back from 2-5 down in the second set to complete a 6-4, 7-6(1) win over German duo Ellerbrock & Katharina Kruger.