The first two matches of the penultimate day of play at the Super Series BNP Paribas French Open, part of the NEC Tour, were the women’s singles semifinals. Played simultaneously, Centre Court hosted the repeat of the Japan Open final with top seed Jiske Griffioen from the Netherlands up against her in-form compatriot Marjolein Buis, with Court 5 showing another all-Dutch clash between World No. 4 and last year’s winner Sharon Walraven versus fourth seed Aniek van Koot.
Current World No. 3 Griffioen looked in great shape coming into her match as she dominated the opening exchanges with her backhand slice making most of the damage, third seed Buis held firm until she was finally broken in the eighth game with her opponent making no mistake in serving out the set.
With her confidence high, Griffioen once again went on the offensive, breaking her opponent in the first game of the second set. But what followed was some uncharacteristically poor play by both with no one able to hold serve until Buis finally did in the seventh game. This was the impetus the game needed as Buis was now playing with some swagger as she continuously found her range to break but even some gritty play by Griffioen was not enough as the match was then tied at one set all.
The level of tennis was cranked up in the third set with a greater variety of shots being used from all sides of the court by both players. With the tension now rising, this was anyone’s match. Griffioen managed to squander a 40-0 lead in the fourth game with Buis somehow getting the break to go 3-1 up. Griffioen then showed great resilience and spirit to fight back to 4-3, but Buis had the mental strength to deal with all that was being thrown at her to get back to 5-4. Griffioen changed tactic and employed a serve and volley strategy which quickly paid off as she had the opportunity to serve out the match at 6-5 but tentative play allowed Buis to get the break back. With the temperature rising, a tie break would have to settle this match. Long rallies featured heavily throughout but it was Buis who came through this test of character and nerves to take the match 36 64 76(4).
In the other semifinal, Aniek van Koot looked very lively against Sharon Walraven as she hit several telling winners throughout the first set to take the lead in the match 62. It was evenly match in the second as Walraven found her game to match that of her opponents, each held serve until the eleventh game when a frustrated van Koot lost her concentration and handed Walraven the chance to serve out the set, which she duly took.
A moment of relaxation, a quick pep talk, saw van Koot compose herself and break in the fourth game to take a huge step advantage in the third set. With her emotions always very close to the surface, van Koot served two double faults in the seventh game to allow her opponent to get back in the game but with several glances towards her coaching corner she found the right shots at the right time and cruised to a 62 57 64 win. She will now face Marjolein Buis in a rematch of the Korean Open final.
Griffioen and van Koot victorious in the day's doubles final
In Saturday’s women’s doubles final, top seeded Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot were up against Marjolein Buis and Sharon Walraven in this intriguing all-Dutch match-up.
With all four of them having played in the morning’s singles’ semifinals, it seemed as this would be a very evenly balanced contest, however it was the first seeds that made the most impressive of starts as they quickly went ahead in the first set. Completely dictating the tempo of the match Griffioen and van Koot were quickly in a commanding position and never relented on the pace of the game as they quickly cruised through the opening set.
They continued were they left off as once again the Griffioen and van Koot pairing combined well, with their opponents unable to respond to their superior shot-making. Completely relaxed and at ease on Centre Court they made light-work of Buis and Walraven as they wrapped up the match 62 61.
BNP Paribas French Open Official Website
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