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Swiss star wants birthday memorable

PARIS (AFP) – French Open semifinalists Timea Bacsinszky and Jelena Ostapenko both celebrate their birthdays on Thursday but the Swiss star insists she’ll be happy to ruin the party for her close friend.

Bacsinszky reached the Roland Garros semi-finals for the second time on Tuesday with a rain-hit 6-4, 6-4 win over home hope Kristina Mladenovic.

Bacsinszky, who also made the last four in 2015, will face unseeded Ostapenko who stunned Danish 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 for a place in Saturday’s final.

But Thursday’s last-four duel also falls on the day when world number 31 Bacsinszky turns 28 while Ostapenko, ranked 47, is 20.

“It’s a nice story, pretty cool,” said Bacsinszky who was already aware of the quirk in the calendar.

“We played doubles together in Wuhan last year and we have practised a lot together. She’s a really nice girl. We saw each other in the gym after today’s matches and congratulated each other and hugged.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty funny we have the same birthday.

Bacsinszky, playing in her third successive French Open quarterfinal, will be the favourite on Thursday.
Ostapenko has never made the semis of a major.

Before Roland Garros she had never got past the third round.

The Latvian is hoping to become the first player since Gustavo Kuerten at the 1997 French Open to win their first tour-level title at a Grand Slam.

Kuerten’s breakthrough triumph at Roland Garros coincidentally came on the very same day that Ostapenko was born.

Bacsinszky, meanwhile, knows what it’s like to be on the semi-final stage, going three sets before losing to Serena Williams in Paris in 2015.

Meantime, torrential rain forced Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic’s quarterfinals to be delayed until Wednesday.

Nine-time champion Nadal is due to take on compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta, while title-holder Djokovic faces sixth seed Dominic Thiem in a repeat of last year’s semi-final.

As a result of the downpours, all four men’s quarter-finals will be played on Wedneday with Andy Murray against Kei Nishikori and Stan Wawrinka facing Marin Cilic.