Tennis

Bartoli to play Kerber in Paris final

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PARIS (AP)

Marion Bartoli beat Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (3), 6-0 to reach the Open GDF Suez final against Angelique Kerber of Germany on Saturday.

Kerber edged Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4 in the other semifinal.

Zakopalova took a 4-2 lead in the first set, but the second-seeded Bartoli saved two set points in the eighth game and broke back in the ninth with a forehand return winner to force a tiebreaker. The second set was all one way.

''In the beginning of the match, she hit some great shots,'' Bartoli said. ''She would have been too strong for me if she had kept playing like that. I weathered the storm, telling myself that it would be difficult for her to maintain such a level throughout the match.

''From the moment I won the first set, things became clearly more difficult for her.''

Bartoli reached her first WTA final since winning the Japan Open last October.

In the second semi, Kerber broke for a 4-3 lead in the last set on an unforced error from Wickmayer.

Wickmayer saved four match points at 5-3, but Kerber clinched victory in the next game when the Belgian netted a backhand return.

''It was a very tough match today,'' Kerber said. ''Just two or three balls in the third set made the difference. My serve was not so well today. But the thing I did very well today is fighting.''

Kerber, a U.S. Open semifinalist, made 16 fewer unforced errors than Wickmayer to advance to her first final since the Copa Colsanitas in Bogota in 2010.

Kerber ousted top-seeded Maria Sharapova on Friday to reach her third semifinals of the year.

''The semifinals in Auckland and Hobart gave me a lot of confidence,'' Kerber said. ''I believe now in me a lot.''

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