Samantha Stosur stormed into the French Open final on Thursday, beating Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-2, and she will become the first Australian woman in 30 years to capture a Grand Slam title if she wins again on Saturday.
Her opponent in that final will be Italy's Francesca Schiavone, who won a first set tie break 7-3 against Russian fifth seed Elena Dementieva who then quit because of a calf muscle injury.
The Australian's crushing one hour-long win over fourth seed Jankovic put her into her first Grand Slam title at the age of 26, almost four years younger than Evonne Cawley was when she won the last of her seven Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in 1980.
For former world number one Jankovic the loss is another heavy blow to her hopes of finally winning a Grand Slam title at what was her 27th attempt.
“I've been playing well and if I can keep this form going I think I have got a good shot,” said Stosur, who defeated four times former winner Justine Henin and top seed Serena Williams in the two previous rounds.
Jankovic said she had been caught out by the abrupt ending to the first semi-final.
“The first match finished earlier than I expected and I started cold, it was tough to move,” she said.
“I never got into the match and I was very sluggish.
“But she has improved so much and especially mentally which was one of her big weaknesses.”
Gold Coast resident Stosur opened strongly against Jankovic although she did not need to produce anything out of the ordinary as the Serb, clad in a bright yellow outfit, struggled with her game.
The Australian converted her third break point of the fourth game to take a 3-1 led and she then rattled off the next three games to take the set in just 24 minutes.
Jankovic, who was casting anxious glances at her coach and mother in the players' box, finally settled down her game to open the second set.
She then broke the Stosur serve for the first time in the second game after producing her first winner of the match.
But she promptly gave that back in the following game handing over the momentum to Stosur who levelled and then broke again to take a 3-2 lead.
There was no way back for Jankovic as the Australian inexorably moved within one match win of ending one of the longest and most painful droughts in Australian sport.
DEMENTIEVA DOUBTFUL FOR WIMBLEDON
Elena Dementieva could miss Wimbledon later this month after retiring from her French Open semi-final on Thursday with a calf injury.
The fifth-seeded Russian quit after losing the first set 7-6 against Italian Francesca Schiavone.
“I am not sure if I will be able to play at Wimbledon,” Dementieva told reporters. “I am not going to (the WTA event in) Eastbourne because of the injury.”
Dementieva said she first suffered the problem to her left calf in a second-round win over Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain and tried everything to recover for her meeting with Schiavone. “It's very painful to even walk,” she said. “I got it after my second match and I aggravated it.
“I felt like I had chances today. I tried to make the points shorter and take advantage of her second serve. But against Francesca it's difficult because she always makes you move,” she said on her defeat on Thursday.