Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 5th 2015 Contents A52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, June 5, 2015
Serena Williams of the US cools off with a towel in her semifinal match of the French Open tennis
tournament against Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France,
yesterday. AP PHOTO
PARIS---At changeovers in her
French Open semifinal, an ill Serena
Williams walked ever so slowly to
the sideline, where even lowering
herself to sit down seemed diffi-
With the temperature nearing 85
degrees (30 Celsius) on the hottest
day of the tournament, she pressed
white towels filled with ice against
her forehead and neck and guzzled
In the early going, her play was
as poor as her health. She failed to
chase balls she normally would.
As telling as anything: Even when
she won points, Williams mostly
refrained from her familiar fist
pumps and yells of "Come on!"
Never can count her out, though,
no matter the circumstances. Down
a set and a break yesterday, and
clearly not herself, Williams sum-
moned the resolve to reach the final
by beating 23rd-seeded Timea Bac-
sinszky of Switzerland 4-6, 6-3, 6-
0.After getting broken to fall behind
3-2 in the second set, Williams
claimed the final ten games.
"Stunning," said Williams coach,
Patrick Mouratoglou. "This is the
difference between champions and
everyone else. There is no logical
explanation. She just has an ability
to react when she is in danger."
Mouratoglou said the No 1-ranked
Williams has been dealing for several
days with the flu, including a fever
and chest congestion that "makes it
difficult to breathe."
Now one victory from her third
French Open championship and 20th
major title overall, Williams faces
13th-seeded Lucie Safarova of the
Czech Republic in Saturday s final.
"I tried everything. I thought if I
lose, I will lose with a fight,"
Williams told the Court Philippe
Chatrier crowd in French. "I tried,
I tried. I found the energy. I don t
know where, but I found it. And I
won. I hope that on Saturday, I hope
..."Cutting herself off, she stepped
away from the microphone, bent
over and began coughing. She offered
a quick wave, then collected her
things and left. Off the court, she
got a hug from Mouratoglou, who
helped her down stairs toward the
"I was worried," Williams mother,
Oracene Price, told The Associated
Press. "But I knew if she could get
through the second set, somehow
maybe the adrenaline and God would
help her get through the match."
Next comes Williams 24th Grand
Slam final, and Safarova s first.
The left-handed Safarova elimi-
nated defending champion Maria
Sharapova in the fourth round, then
defeated 2008 French Open winner
Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 7-5 on Thursday.
Williams won her semifinal despite
dropping the first set for the fourth
time in six matches. She d never
fashioned that many comebacks at
a single Grand Slam tournament over
her long, successful career.
When this one was over, finally
over, Williams leaned forward and
rested her head on her hands atop
the handle of her upside-down rack-
et.After greeting Williams at the net,
Bacsinszky wiped tears from her eyes
as she left, her magical run over
Before these two weeks, Bacsin-
szky never had been past the second
round in Paris---or past the third
round at any major.
Two years ago, she took a hiatus
from tennis to work at restaurants
with an eye toward pursuing a degree
in hotel management.
Last year, she was ranked 112th
and went through qualifying simply
to get into the French Open s main
This year, equipped with a dan-
gerous backhand and an affinity for
delicate drop shots, Bacsinszky beat
two-time Wimbledon champion
Petra Kvitova, who was seeded
fourth, along with No 16 Madison
Keys of the US, and lost a tourna-
ment-low 33 games entering Thurs-
day. She also was 7-0 for her career
at the French Open when winning
the first set.
Ah, but none of those matches
came against Williams.
When the chips are down and the
going gets toughest, no one is better
than her at the moment---and, per-
haps, in the history of the game. She
is 11-0 in three-set matches this sea-
son, part of an overall record of 31-
1. If she can get past Safarova, the
33-year-old Williams would add to
her French Open titles from 2002
and 2013 and collect a third consec-
utive major championship, following
those at the US Open last September
and Australian Open this January.
"She has been sick for a while,
but she never thought about with-
drawing," Mouratoglou said. "Even
on one leg, she will step on court.
She always believes that she can pull
through. This is her strength. You
can t take it away from her."
Ill Williams returns
at French Open
to reach final
This is the difference between champions and
everyone else. There is no logical explanation. She
just has an ability to react when she is in danger.
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