Ser­ena show­cases strengths

Wil­liams’ straight-sets win over Er­rani sends her into semi­fi­nals, where she will meet Bac­sin­szky.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS -

PARIS — No come­back nec­es­sary for Ser­ena Wil­liams in this match. She was back to be­ing at her best.

Her serves were ter­rific, to the tune of 10 aces. Her re­turns too, as Wil­liams de­liv­ered 11 win­ners. Her fore­hands, back­hands, de­fense — and the list goes on — helped her com­pile a 39-9 edge in to­tal win­ners.

Clos­ing in on a 20th Grand Slam ti­tle and third at Roland Gar­ros, Wil­liams played far bet­ter dur­ing a 6-1, 6-3 vic­tory over 17th-seeded Sara Er­rani in the French Open quar­ter­fi­nals Wed­nes­day than in her pre­ced­ing three rounds, when she dropped the open­ing set each time be­fore turn­ing things around.

“I had only one op­tion,” Wil­liams said af­ter de­feat­ing the 2012 run­ner-up, “and that was to kind of gain con­trol of my­self, my emo- tions, and my game.”

Er­rani was left to sum it up this way: “I couldn’t do what I would like to do.”

The top-seeded Wil­liams, 30-1 this sea­son, has a way of mak­ing op­po­nents feel that way.

On Thurs­day, in her 27th ma­jor semi­fi­nal, she will play No. 23 Timea Bac­sin­szky of Switzer­land. Bac­sin­szky earned her de­but in the fi­nal four at a Grand Slam tour­na­ment by beat­ing Ali­son Van Uyt­vanck of Bel­gium, 6-4, 7-5.

The other women’s semi­fi­nal is No. 7 Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 cham­pion, against No. 13 Lu­cie Sa­farova.

The 25-year-old Bac­sin­szky had never made it past the sec­ond round of the French Open, or the third round of any ma­jor. In 2014, she was ranked 112th and went through qual­i­fy­ing just to make it into the main draw.

A cou­ple of years ago, she took time away from ten­nis and worked in restau­rants with an eye to­ward go­ing to ho­tel man­age­ment school.

“I don’t know if it re­ally helps me for my fore­hand or for my back­hand,” she said, “but it gives you … a lot of hu­mil­ity.”

Now Bac­sin­szky heads into the most sig­nif­i­cant match of her ca­reer. She’s 0-2 against Wil­liams.

Er­rani has never beaten Wil­liams in nine tries, but she pushed the 33-year-old Amer­i­can to three sets in a Fed Cup match in April.

Wil­liams con­sid­ered that a good thing, ex­plain­ing, “I knew what to ex­pect this time.”

Ap­par­ently. Er­rani needed 32 min­utes, and four ser­vice games, to earn her first hold. A big rea­son was a soft-as-cot­ton serve that al­lowed Wil­liams to tee off on re­turns.

Still, when Er­rani did man­age to hold for a third con­sec­u­tive time — at love, no less — she led 3-2 in the sec­ond set. Mak­ing a match of it, maybe? Nope.

They would play for 20 more min­utes, and Er­rani wouldn’t win another game.

Yoan Valat Euro­pean Pressphoto Agency

SER­ENA WIL­LIAMS, shown dur­ing match with Sara Er­rani, is near­ing a 20th Grand Slam ti­tle.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.