World No. 1 Serena Williams and Spain’s Garbine Muguruza advanced to the French Open final on Friday, putting Williams one match away from what has become a difficult-to-obtain 22nd career Grand Slam title.
Williams ground out a 7-6(7), 6-4 win against a confident unseeded opponent in the Netherlands’ Kiki Bertens. The Dutchwoman was on a 12-match winning streak entering the contest.
“I think she obviously has a lot more confidence,” Serena said afterwards. “She’s had a couple big wins in this tournament. Being in the semifinals of a Grand Slam and having nothing to lose just really makes a big difference.”
Williams was forced to save a set point in the first set against the first Dutchwoman in the French Open semis since 1971.
“The first set wasn’t easy,” Serena said. “I needed to play better because she was playing very well, but I’m very happy to win today.”
Bertens broke serve again to start the second set before Williams righted the ship to advance to the final.
Muguruza in her semi beat Sam Stosur 6-2, 6-4, and has not dropped a set since the first round.
The No. 4 seed in topping the No. 21 seed became the first Spaniard to reach the final since 2000 (Conchita Martinez).
“This was a bit difficult to play because I wanted to win so much against Samantha,” Muguruza said. “She’s such a great tennis player. I succeeded finally, so it’s a dream come true. I really feel good.”
Mugruza trails Williams 1-3 in their head-to-head but beat her at Roland Garros in 2014.
“I think Muguruza has been playing really well,” Serena said. She’s been playing a really aggressive game and going for her shots. Regardless, I think it will be a good match. I mean, last time we played here in France she was able to win the match.”
* Williams leads all-time head-to-head 3-1… All previous meetings have been at Grand Slam level.
* This will be the pair’s second meeting at Roland Garros, after Muguruza defeated the World No.1 Williams in 2014 for the loss of just four games.
* Serena’s three victories came at 2013 and 2015 Australian Open and 2015 Wimbledon.
* This will be the second career meeting in a final after 2015 Wimbledon (also the last time they met) and second career meeting on clay after 2014 Roland Garros.
* All matches between the pair have been won in straight sets with no tiebreaks.
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