Sick Serena battles on to set up Safarova final

Thu Jun 4, 2015 4:42pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

PARIS (Reuters) - Serena Williams did not smile, celebrate or even acknowledge the standing ovation she was receiving from the roaring crowd as she watched Timea Bacsinszky's backhand float out on match point at the French Open on Thursday.

Instead, the pained expression on the ailing American's face spoke volumes about what she must have been thinking -- 'Thank Jehovah it's over'.

Using her racket like a walking stick Williams, who now stands one match away from winning a 20th grand slam title, gingerly shuffled her ailing body back to her seat after completing a 4-6 6-3 6-0 semi-final win over the Swiss outsider.

It was a victory that an hour earlier, when she was a set and a break down, seemed nigh on impossible as her body seemed to be letting her down with the mercury tipping at 27 degrees Celsius on the hottest day of the championships.

But a woman who has built a career on overcoming every obstacle life can throw at her -- be it a piece of glass that sliced her foot open or a childhood spent dodging bullets during practice sessions in Compton, California -- was determined not to give up on her dreams of a third French Open title.

To do that, the American will need to recover quickly to overcome Czech firecracker Lucie Safarova in Saturday's final.

On Thursday, however, Williams -- who always thanks Jehovah for her grand slam victories -- was not thinking that far ahead.

"I tried everything. I thought if I lose I must fight. I have tried and tried, I don't know where I found the energy," the world number one spluttered during the obligatory on court interview.   Continued...

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - 4/6/15
Women's Singles - USA's Serena Williams celebrates winning her semi final match
Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff