Serena Hits Slam-Winning Gear; French Open Women’s Semis on Thursday
by Staff | June 3rd, 2015, 5:50 pm

While Rafael Nadal seemed to hit a wall on Wednesday at Roland Garros, no walls seem in sight for world No. 1 Serena Williams.
Williams on Wednesday powered past Italian and former Roland Garros finalist Sara Errani 6-1, 6-3 to move into the semifinals of the 2015 French Open, now two matches away from a second French Open crown in the last three years.

It was the first time in four rounds that the world No. 1 did not need to mount a comeback from a set down.

“The last four French Opens in a row [Errani’s] been to the quarterfinals or better, so I knew I had to be really focused today,” said Williams after improving to 9-0 career against the Italian. “She does so well here, and she really fights for every point.”

Williams’ focus was evident in her 39 winners to 23 unforced errors.

“I wasn’t able to serve well in my first couple of matches here because I hurt my arm in Madrid, and in Rome I had to pull out,” she said. “I haven’t had a great claycourt season, so I’m pretty excited to have gotten this far.”

“This far” will not be the typical Grand Slam semifinal, as Williams will next meet No. 23 seed Timea Bacsinszky, who defeated  No. 93-ranked Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4, 7-5.

“She’s a good player,” Williams said of Bacsinszky, who she has beaten in both their career meetings. “What I think about most when I think of her is she’s a major fighter…and she’s had a really good year — so I have to come out strong again, I need to relax, and just do the best that I can do.”

Bacsinszky said after her win that favorites go out the door this late in a Grand Slam.

“I know people like to write about who is the favorite and who has pressure, who has no pressure, but we are equal when we step on the tennis court,” Bacsinszky said. “I wasn’t feeling like the favorite today. That’s why I just played my game and tried to find the solution like before.”

The Swiss can take solace in her meeting with Williams earlier this year in Indian Wells where she was competitive against the world No. 1.

“Serena is definitely a great champion…But it’s the same every time I step on the court,” the Swiss said. “I always try to win the last point. For me it doesn’t matter who I’m playing against, I want to have two or three tactics and then try to use them. When you play against Serena, you should be able to compete with her. I gave her a hard time when I played against her, and I hope tomorrow I will do my best to try and beat her and win the last point.”

Serena and the Swiss will follow the other women’s semifinal on Thursday when former Roland Garros champ and No. 7 seed Ana Ivanovic takes on No. 13 seed Lucie Safarova.

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29 Comments for Serena Hits Slam-Winning Gear; French Open Women’s Semis on Thursday

Gordon Says:

100s of comments on Djokovic-Rafa; maybe this blog deserves at least 1?

I’ll throw this grenade indirectly –

Why is it that Women’s professional basketball players only make a small fraction of what the NBA guys do?

It must be because their popularity is minuscule in comparison.

Maybe if they double headed games with the NBA, more people would come out to watch the women play; then they could ask for more money. It’s worked in one other sport, even if this is the first comment in here after this post on Serena has been up for hours.

Eric Says:

Ana was one point away from a chance to serve at 5-1 in the first set, and she went on to lose it 7-5. Ouch.

Eric Says:

And now she’s getting creamed in the second, too. Darn it.

Hippy Chick Says:

Safarova will never forgive herself,if she doesnt win this match….

Eric Says:

blah. Nothing against Safarova, but, wow, talk about a game of two halves (or, in this case, one third and the other two thirds…).

Ben Pronin Says:

Gordon, have you ever seen a WNBA game? The quality is so so so so so so bad.

jane Says:

congrats to lucie safarova; i hope she wins it all!

jane Says:

on the other hand, if bacsinszky takes out serena then her winning could be quite the story as well.

Eric Says:

Looks like Serena’s going to win now. The umpire robbed Bacsinszky of a point, she got in a huff, hasn’t been playing as well since. Serena can barely move, but that’s experience for you.

Gordon Says:

Ben – I have and you’re right.

But the #100 ranked man would straight set Serena 9 times out of 10.

Krishna Says:

Wow Serena wins in 3. 3rd set was a bagel!

Eric Says:

Yep, Bacsinszky broke for a 3-2 lead in the second set and then didn’t win another game.

Eric Says:

(Typical Serena, in other words!)

MMT Says:

Serena cannot compete with the men – please never speak of this again.

Ben Pronin Says:

Gordon, I’m not sure how to explain this but here it goes. Basically, we all enjoy men’s tennis, right? At least at the top of the game there’s a lot of quality and even the lower ranked guys can do incredible things.

I don’t care much about women’s tennis and, look, there’s a lot of talk about sexism and whatnot and a lot of it has merit. But, the women’s game, to me, does not have as much quality as the men’s game. It’s not even about depth, because I think the women’s game has more depth. But I’d much rather watch 34th ranked Fernando Verdasco than 34th ranked Varvara Lepchenko. Men are simply better tennis players. And I enjoy good tennis. When the guys play ugly I’ll turn it off, too. And it’s not like I’ll never watch a women’s match, but I generally prefer not to.

But with the NBA and WNBA? The visual discrepancy is far greater. The NBA is widely popular because you have arguably the most incredible athletes on the planet performing at the highest level. The WNBA does not consist of the most incredible athletes in the world. I don’t even think they’re the most incredible female athletes in the world. The transition from Serena to Djokovic and back is like, well, that’s ok, Serena’s pretty awesome, too. But the transition between Lebron and whoever the best WNBA player would probably be like, who’s the random girl playing ball in an empty stadium? You wouldn’t even think she’s a pro athlete.

elina Says:

You guys who is the best women’s player of all time?

Eric Says:

Steffi Graf.

Eric Says:

(Serena ain’t bad either.)

Markus Says:

While Serena is very good, the rest of the field in women’s tennis are terrible. Sharapova wins not because of her skills but by will power…and she could not beat Serena even in her dreams. We just saw Ivanovic, only 27 years old, former number one, former FO champion lose after leading 5-1 in the first set. Serena was dying from flu and still won. Women’s tennis is no better than the WNBA. Separate the women slams from the slams and let’s see if it can generate an income their demand for equal pay.

Okiegal Says:

@Elina…..Women’s tennis can be so wishy washy that’s a tough question. I always thought Graf was, then Martina N. but I believe Serena could beat them hands down if they were in the same era.

MMT Says:

“Eric Says:
Steffi Graf.”


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t know. I agree the women at the top are very, uhm, not consistent, to say the least. But Serena is an unbelievable player. I used to dismiss her but her ability to find her A game when it matters most is truly unbelievable. She really has that switch. And her shots are incredible. I think she could blow anyone off the court if it really came down to it.

Markus, I just feel like if you’re just watching tennis and they switch back and forth between women and men, it’s not as bad as it would be if you switched between NBA and WNBA. At the same time maybe I’m just used to it.

Hippy Chick Says:

Seles dominated Graff for a while,shame about the stabbing,i would say Graff,Navratilova,Court,Williams its just the order thats debateable i suppose?….

Agree with everyone that Serena hasnt got any really meaty competition to speak of,its a pathetic era in womens tennis….

MMT Says:

That’s one of the great tragedies in the history of tennis – the artificial curtailment of Monica Seles’ career. She was years old and had 9 majors already – amazing.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

The way I look at it, careers go through ups and downs, and what makes an all time great is that they weather those storms and have multiple golden periods.

So I would not hesitate to say Seles could have been the greatest ever, but sadly, I don’t think based on the interrupted career that you could call her THE greatest ever. I agree with Hippy, but I don’t see how you can ever say Navratilova without Evert!

I don’t really know anything about Court, so I would say Graf/Williams best, and Navratliova/Evert right behind. The thing they share is iron will and nerves. I hesitate to discuss mental game on any thread with MMT about, but I believe it is a massive part of the game on both tours, but I think its much much more obvious on the women’s tour, where you can see spectacular flameouts all the time. Those four stood apart from the pack in that regard.

Eric Says:

I’ve never watched a WNBA match, but I think the disparity in women’s tennis depends on what you compare. It’s easy to look at women’s tennis and say, “god, how do you have an endless succession of world no. 1s who can barely reach slam finals?” or, ” all they do is hit boring rallies until someone makes a mistake,” or “as athletes, they just aren’t as interesting as the men’s tour.”

And there’s a lot of truth to that. I think the key thing is that, for whatever reason, the relatively boring players tend to be more successful in the WTA. Think of something like Schiavone vs. Kuznetsova in that epic 2011 AO match. Obviously a huge outlier, but that’s one of the best tennis matches I’ve ever seen.

By contrast, a lot of matches on the men’s tour can be a lot like this point:

It’s not all peak Big Four contests chock full of insane Rafa saves that turn into magical winners, Murray’s tactical brilliance and wrong-footing junk, Federer making you fall off your chair in wonder, Djokovic playing like an android. Or even Gasquet’s casual elegance, Soderling’s hammer, Hewitt’s tenacity. There is a lot of really bad, boring tennis in the ATP.

The big difference is in the last few rounds. It is not within the compass of possibility that a top-ten men’s player would lead 5-1 and then lost in straight sets to a weaker opponent; it just doesn’t happen. And when was the last time you saw someone hitting a crazy no-look, backhanded volley in a women’s quarterfinal? It just doesn’t really happen, in my experience. That’s not to say there isn’t exciting tennis at the business end of a WTA tournament, but the ATP delivers up much more reliably excellent tennis at the end of tournaments. But is that because women’s tennis isn’t as good or just because of a difference in styles combined with a something of an interregnum in which Serena continues to rule?

Eric Says:

*lose, not “lost,” and to clarify, I mean in the quarterfinals or later of a major.

(This refers to a comment awaiting moderation for some reason.)

Hippy Chick Says:

TV i actually forgot and meant to put Evert in there too….

chris ford1 Says:

For a brief period of time, the modern racquet driven serve and volley days – women’s tennis was actually better to watch than Sampras vs. Goran servefests.
Seeing points constructed by Steffi. Actual strategy and use of amazing angles by Hingis.
Ironically, just as the men’s game turned the tide away from a sport dominated by the Roddicks and Isners and Kevin Andersons and yuck! Sam Querreys…..
The woman’s game got taken over by the Bollettieri -inspired “Screamers and Bashers”, playing low IQ tennis. Sharapova, Venus, and Serena being the worst. Blowing away the field of feminine players of the Aga Radwanska sort. Hingis sensibly retired. And the only sort that seemed to have some chance against the “intimidate, scream and smash even harder ” types were superb athletes like Henin and Kim Clijsters.
To Serena’s credit, she evolved into an intelligent, multiskilled player who had strategy. Venus and Sharapova stayed “low-IQ” tennis. Maria had some positive changes, like pouncing on weak servers more and more with putaway bashes. Venus sadly, didn’t even do that.

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