Serena Williams to face Timea Bacsinszky in French Open semi-finals

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Serena Williams returns a shot during her quarter final match against Sara Errani.

Top seed Serena Williams set up a semi-final clash with Timea Bacsinszky at the French Open after defeating Italian 17th seed Sara Errani 6-1, 6-3 on Wednesday.

Williams, who is looking for her third title at Roland Garros and 20th career Grand Slam crown, will face Bacsinszky after the Swiss 23rd seed beat unseeded Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4, 7-5 in the day’s other quarter-final tie.

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The American had lost the first set in each of her last three matches in Paris but on this occasion she meant business right from the off, breaking immediately to lead 2-0 on the central Court Philippe Chatrier.

The diminutive Errani, who was the runner-up at Roland Garros in 2012 and lost to Williams in the semi-finals a year later, broke back straight away but once more she could not hold her own serve and fell 3-1 behind.

Williams then saved another break point against her in the following game with a brilliant cross-court forehand and, with Errani struggling against her opponent’s power, she broke again before serving successfully to take the first set in just 27 minutes.

The second set was tighter, going with serve until Williams broke in the seventh game to lead 4-3, and she then went on to clinch victory on her fourth match point in a marathon ninth game as the match concluded in just one hour and five minutes.

Williams, who has now won all nine of her meetings with Errani, was far too powerful for the Italian, producing 39 winners to just nine for her opponent and conjuring 11 return winners against Errani’s weak serve.

Bacsinszky is through to her first Grand Slam semi-final after repelling a battling performance by Van Uytvanck on Court Suzanne Lenglen in a match that lasted an hour and three quarters.

The Swiss got off to a great start, breaking twice early on to lead 3-0. Van Uytvanck then got one break back but could not find another and Bacsinszky took the opening set 6-4.

Van Uytvanck, the unseeded world number 93 who was the first Belgian to appear in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros since Justine Henin won the title in 2007, kept fighting and an exchange of breaks ensured that the second set was poised at 5-5.

But that was when Bacsinszky broke again, leaving her serving for the match. And the 25-year-old daughter of Hungarian parents converted her first match point with a terrific backhand down the line.

“It is absolutely extraordinary, just incredible. I’m very proud of my run,” said Bacsinszky after becoming the first Swiss woman to reach the semis in Paris since Martina Hingis in 2001 and the first at any Grand Slam since Patty Schnyder at the Australian Open in 2004.

“It was a very difficult match. She was in the quarters because she had played very well so I had to battle like crazy, back to the wall.”

Bacsinszky, who beat fourth seed Petra Kvitova in the fourth round, has lost both of her previous meetings with Williams, on clay in Rome in 2010 and in straight sets in the quarter-finals at Indian Wells earlier this year.

Williams is the heavy favourite to win the title, with the other semi-final pairing seventh seed Ana Ivanovic, the Serbian who was the French Open champion in 2008, with Czech 13th seed Lucie Safarova.

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Novak Djokovic routs Rafael Nadal to reach French Open semi-finals

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Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory over Rafael Nadal to reach the French Open semis.

Novak Djokovic crushed nine-time champion Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 to move into the French Open semi-finals Wednesday, condemning the great Spaniard to just his second defeat in 72 matches at Roland Garros.

It was world number one and top seed Djokovic’s first win over defending champion Nadal in seven meetings in Paris, avenging his defeats in the 2012 and 2014 finals.

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It also eased Djokovic, who fired 45 winners to Nadal’s 16, closer to a first French Open title and the completion of a career Grand Slam.

He will play his 26th career Grand Slam semi-final on Friday against either British third seed Andy Murray or Spain’s 2013 runner-up David Ferrer.

“I have great respect for Rafa, he’s a true champion and it’s always a pleasure to play him,” said 28-year-old Djokovic.

“I knew I had to be aggressive and stay concentrated on every point. That’s not easy to do against a man who had only lost once here in his career.

 “It’s an incredible day, I am very happy and I want to continue like this.”

For Nadal, it was a sobering way to mark his 29th birthday with the comprehensive loss placing a serious question mark over whether he will be able to achieve his dream of a 10th French Open crown.

The defeat, just his second in Paris in a decade after a fourth-round exit to Robin Soderling in 2009, will probably also see him slip out of the world top 10 for the first time since 2005.

In a marathon 67-minute first set in their 44th career meeting, Djokovic raced into a 4-0 lead, allowing Nadal just four points.

But the sixth seed roared back to 4-4, finally finding his range with his trusty forehand.

Nadal faced down three set points in the 10th game, also shrugging off a time warning from umpire Cedric Mourier for exceeding the 20-second limit between points.

After a 12-minute game, Nadal held for 5-5 and saved two more set points in the 12th game before Djokovic sealed it with a low, searing cross-courter which Nadal could only scramble towards in a desperate attempt to reach it, succeeding in only pushing the ball wide.

Despite being a set to the good, the top seed was as unhappy with Mourier as Nadal, complaining over the watering of the court at the break.

Djokovic calmed down enough to have Nadal under siege again in the second set, breaking for 5-3.

Nadal saved three set points in the ninth game, but he was powerless on the fourth.

Djokovic set it up with a breathtaking, no-look backhand volley and converted it into a two-set lead when Nadal netted another tired drive.

In a crucial illustration of his dominance, Djokovic conjured up 13 winners in the set to just four for Nadal.

For the Spaniard, it was the first time in his career he had lost the first two sets of a French Open match.

His last comeback from two sets down at a Grand Slam was at Wimbledon eight years ago against Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny.

But he looked and played like a beaten man in the third set as Djokovic raced out to a decisive 4-0 lead and the Serb claimed victory on Nadal’s second double fault of the tie.

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VIDEO: Fans injured at French Open during Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s quarter-final victory

fahad 3/06/2015
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French Open director Gilbert Ysern discusses three spectators being hurt after a piece of metal scaffolding falls off the scoreboard into the stands during Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's quarter-final victory against Kei Nishikori.









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