Ailing Serena beats Bacsinszky to reach French Open final

Thu Jun 4, 2015 3:20pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - An ailing Serena Williams stayed on course for a 20th grand slam singles title as she came back from the brink to reach the final of the French Open with a 4-6 6-3 6-0 win against Swiss power hitter Timea Bacsinszky on Thursday.

The American, who looked unwell throughout the match, putting iced towels around her neck and against her forehead at changeovers, fell a set and a break down as the 23rd-seeded Bacsinszky peppered the court with backhand winners.

But Williams, who won Roland Garros in 2002 and 2013, dug deep to break back and Bacsinszky cracked, losing 10 games in a row.

Williams closed it out when Bacsinszky sent a backhand long and the world number one will now face Czech 13th seed Lucie Safarova on Saturday.

"I have tried everything. I thought if I lose I must fight. I have tried and tried, I don't know where I found the energy," Williams told a courtside interviewer in French before a coughing fit ended the conversation.

"I have been feeling unwell for a few days," she later added in a statement, explaining she had to see the tournament doctor after the match.

Last year, Williams pulled out of a doubles match with her sister Venus at Wimbledon after appearing disoriented and weak on court when she was suffering from a viral illness.

There was no quitting this time, however.   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during her women's semi-final match against Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, June 4, 2015.  REUTERS/Vincent Kessler