Williams eases into French Open semis

Top seed Serena Williams has secured her place in the semi-finals of the French Open by defeating Italian 17th seed Sara Errani 6-1 6-3.

Williams, who is looking for her third title at Roland Garros and 20th grand slam crown, will meet Swiss Timea Bacsinszky for a spot in the final after the 23rd seed beat Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4 7-5 in the second semi on Wednesday.

Williams had lost the first set in each of her last three matches in Paris but she meant business right from the off on Wednesday, breaking immediately to lead 2-0 on the central Court Philippe Chatrier.

The diminutive Errani, who was the runner-up at Roland Garros in 2012 and lost to Williams in the semi-finals a year later, broke back straight away but once more she could not hold her own serve and fell 3-1 behind.

Williams then saved another break point against her in the following game with a brilliant cross-court forehand and, with Errani struggling against her opponent’s power, she broke again before serving successfully to take the first set in just 27 minutes.

The second set was tighter, going with serve until Williams broke in the seventh game to lead 4-3, and she then went on to clinch victory on her fourth match point in a marathon ninth game as the match concluded in just one hour and five minutes.

Williams, who has now won all nine of her meetings with Errani, said: “In the last three matches I lost the first set and today I knew I needed to play very well because she is very good here at Roland Garros so it was very important for me.”

Williams is the heavy favourite to win the title, with the other semi-final pairing seventh seed Ana Ivanovic, the Serbian who was the French Open champion in 2008, with Czech 13th seed Lucie Safarova.

Bacsinszky will be contesting her first grand slam semi-final, with the winner to face either seventh-seeded former champion Ana Ivanovic or Czech 13th seed Lucie Safarova in Saturday’s title match.

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