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Sunday 4 December 2016

Tennis: Battling Serena Williams survives scare to face Safarova

Serena Williams
Serena Williams

SERENA WILLIAMS survived another scare at the French Open as the American battled back from a set down to beat Timea Bacsinszky and secure her place in the final.

Williams has now come from a set down to win four times at this tournament, trumping her previous grand slam record of three, as the top seed showed her relentless fighting spirit again to win 4-6 6-3 6-0.

The world number one will now play Czech Lucie Safarova in the final as she bids to win her third title at Roland Garros and 20th overall.

Williams was visibly under the weather throughout the match on the Philippe Chatrier court, coughing and spluttering in between points, but, as so often in her career, she found a way through.

"I thought I had lost but I found some energy and I won," Williams said. "I hope I get better for Saturday. I feel ill."

Williams also had to contend with a brilliant display from Bacsinszky, who almost gave up tennis two years ago when she began an internship in hotel management to work in restaurants.

It was Bacsinszky's first appearance in a grand slam semi-final, but the Swiss showed no signs of nerves early on, serving an ace to hold her first service game.

Williams will now play Safarova on Saturday after the Czech beat Serbian Ana Ivanovic 7-5 7-5 to go through to her first grand slam final.

Just when it looked as if her title aspirations were floundering, the 13th seed shook off her jitters and unleashed her 'A Game' to pummel Ivanovic into submission.

"It's a dream come true, I still cannot believe it. The happiness is unreal," said a jubilant Safarova, who will be aiming to become the first Czech to lift the Suzanne Lenglen trophy since Hana Mandlikova in 1981.

 

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