PARIS – Marion Bartoli of France and Angelique Kerber of Germany won semifinal matches Saturday and will play for the title at the Open GDF Suez.
The second-seeded Bartoli defeated Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (3), 6-0 to reach her first final since winning the Japan Open last October. Kerber, a U.S. Open semifinalist, defeated Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4.
Bartoli hit two consecutive aces to take a 5-0 lead in the final set, converting her first match point with a forehand return winner.
Zakopalova took a 4-2 lead in the first set, but Bartoli saved two set points in the eighth game and broke back in the ninth with a forehand return winner to force a tiebreaker.
"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."
Bartoli capitalized on unforced errors from Zakopalova to lead 5-1 in the tiebreaker, and won the first set when the Czech hit a backhand return long.
In the second semifinal, Kerber broke for a 4-3 lead in the final set on an unforced error. Wickmayer saved four match points at 5-3, but Kerber clinched the match in the next game when the Belgian netted a backhand return. Kerber made 16 fewer unforced errors than Wickmayer.
"Just two or three balls in the third set made the difference," Kerber said. "My serve was not so well today. But the thing I did very well today is fighting."
Kerber advanced to her first final since the Copa Colsanitas in Bogota in 2010.
Kerber ousted top-seeded Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals Friday and moved into the last four at the Hobart International and ASB Classic last month.
"The semifinals in Auckland and Hobart gave me a lot of confidence," Kerber said.