Stosur-Schiavone set up final
Aussies powers through; Emotional Dementieva retires
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Francesca Schiavone has become the first Italian woman to reach a Grand Slam final after a tearful Elena Dementieva dramatically quit their French Open semi-final.
Samantha Stosur, who powered past Jelena Jankovic in the second semi-final, now stands in her way as both players go in search of a maiden Grand Slam title.
After losing the first set 7-6 (7-3) on Philippe Chatrier Court, Russian Dementieva decided she could no longer continue due to injury.
The fifth seed later explained she had been playing with a torn muscle since her second-round win over Anabel Medina Garrigues.
"I have a tear in my left calf, so it's very painful to even walk,'' Dementieva, who also revealed she had also come close to quitting during her third-round victory over Aleksandra Wozniak, said.
"Today was just a sharp pain. It was a bit too much.''
The 28-year-old had been a break up and seemingly in control of the match before surrendering that advantage as well as a 2-0 lead in the tie-break.
Schiavone, who shocked third seed Caroline Wozniacki in the quarters, was unable to reproduce her all-action display as she was pegged back early by Dementieva's powerful forehand.
The Italian still managed to create break points in the Russian's opening three service games but Dementieva - notoriously fragile on serve - rose to the challenge.
And when Schiavone finally offered up a break point on her own serve in game seven, Dementieva pounced.
Yet, a horrible follow-up game saw two unforced errors and two double-faults gift the 17th seed the break back.
The rest of the set went to serve before Dementieva took a 2-0 lead in the tie-break.
But she then lost the next six points to lose it 7-3 and quickly signalled she would not be continuing.
Despite the manner of her victory, Schiavone - who will play Stosur in Saturday's final - could not help celebrating her historic achievement.
Brisbane's Stosur continued her dream run to the final with a crushing 6-1 6-2 win over Serbia's Jelena Jankovic.
The powerful right-hander, who defeated Justine Henin and Serena Williams en route to the last four, dominated the match from the word go and becomes the first Australian woman since Wendy Turnbull in 1980 to reach a Grand Slam final.
Stosur raced through the first set in 24 minutes and sealed victory in just over an hour of one-sided tennis.
The Australia admitted the strength of her serve has been the key to her recent rise up the world rankings.
"I was 12 or 13 when my coach at the time showed me the serve," she said. "I picked it up pretty much straight away and all through my juniors up until now, it has been a strength of mine.
"It is maybe a little bit different for players to come out playing against me because of those two shots: serve and a forehand. Maybe I'm a bit of a rarity out there.
"My fitness and strength is something I've been working on for probably a good five years - very seriously."