TENNIS: Serena eeks out win at French Open quarters
PARIS — Serena Williams knows, of course, that she’s had less success at the French Open than any other Grand Slam tournament. Of her 15 major titles, only one came at Roland Garros, back in 2002. She lost in the semifinals a year later then exited in the quarterfinals the next four times she got that far.
So there Williams was Tuesday, suddenly locked in her first difficult match of this year’s French Open, having lost the second set and the opening two games of the third. Again, trouble in the quarterfinals in Paris against Svetlana Kuznetsova.
But Williams won six of the last seven games, rallying for a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory and reaching her first semifinal in a decade at the clay-court major tournament.
Since a first-round exit at Roland Garros a year ago, Williams is 72-3, and she’s currently on a 29-match winning streak, the best of her career and longest in a single season since her sister Venus’ 35-match run in 2000.
On Thursday, Williams will meet No. 5 Sara Errani, who reached the semifinals for the third time in the last five majors, beating No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 7-6 (6).
In today’s quarterfinals, the second-seeded Sharapova faced No. 18 Jelena Jankovic, while No. 3 Victoria Azarenka played No. 12 Maria Kirilenko. The last two men’s quarterfinals are seven-time champion Rafael Nadal against No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka, and No. 1 Novak Djokovic against No. 12 Tommy Haas.
Nadal and Djokovic have combined with Roger Federer to win 30 of the past 32 Grand Slam titles, but Federer will not be around for the conclusion of this tournament.
In a remarkably brief and one-sided quarterfinal Tuesday, the 17-time major champion lost to one-time major finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-5, 6-3, 6-3.