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Russian roulette over a French toast

sports Updated: Jun 04, 2009 23:39 IST

Close friends Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova set up an all-Russian final in the French Open on Thursday.

Safina was not at her best but still beat Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-3, while Kuznetsova needed to dig deep to stop Australia's Samantha Stosur 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3.

It will be just the second all-Russian final at Roland Garros after the 2004 French Open when Anastasia Myskina defeated Elena Dementieva and it will be the 13th meeting between the two 23-year-olds with Safina ahead 7-5.

Safina, who lost in straight sets in last year's final to Ana Ivanovic, is on a mission here to win her first Grand Slam title and silence those who say she is not worthy of being the world No.1 until she does so.

She went into Thursday's semi-final laid low with a virus, but she still had too much firepower for Cibulkova who had reached a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time.

The Russian started poorly and was 0-2 before she found her range and won the next five games against an opponent who at 1.61 metres stood a full 21 centimetres smaller than her.

Safina wobbled again at the start of the second set but she dug deep to get herself out of trouble and then grabbed the vital break in the fifth game.

Kuznetsova looked set for a comfortable passage into the final after going up a set and a break.

Paes-Dlouhy in final

Leander Paes and partner Lukas Dlouhy beat Daniel Nestor and Ninad Zimonjic 7-6(4), 7-6(5) to enter the doubles final.