Williams racing to be fit for French final

Flu-stricken Serena Williams remains laid up in bed and racing the clock to be fit for Saturday’s French Open final against Lucie Safarova.

The world No.1 was unable to practice on Friday and admitted it was tough to think about winning a third title in Paris – and a 20th grand slam crown – while feeling “so lousy”.

Williams said she’d “never felt so sick” than during her semi-final comeback win over Swiss Timea Bacsinszky, a match in which she trailed by a set and a break before reeling off the last 10 games.

“I started to feel unwell in the third or fourth round and I felt really terrible during the semis against Timea,” Williams said.

“I’m actually not sure how I got through the match and when it was over I just kind of collapsed. I couldn’t move.

“I saw the tournament doctor on site and since I came home I’ve been resting – I just could not practice today.”

The top seed said there was little she could do other than rest and rehydrate.

“I’ve felt really cold so I’m just fighting that, trying to sweat it out.”

Bidding to become the oldest women’s champion in Paris in almost half a century, 33-year-old Williams said she planned to see a doctor again on Friday night.

“We’ll see if he can do anything else to help, but I don’t think there’s anything,” she said.

“It’s just time. I need time and obviously I don’t have a lot of it, but it helps that I can be at my apartment and have my family and friends with me.”

If fit, Williams would ordinarily enter the final as an overwhelming favourite against a first-time grand slam finalist who she has beaten in all eight of their previous career encounters.

But the world No.1 is suitably wary after Safarova followed up her removal of titleholder Maria Sharapova in the fourth round with a straight-sets semi-final victory over fellow former champion Ana Ivanovic.

“Lucie has been in great form here. She has beaten some tough opponents and I know she always plays well against me,” Williams said.

“She’s a lefty, which always provides different challenges. I know I’m going to have to play really well to win.

“But, at this point, I just want to get better. It’s hard to think about the match or winning another grand slam title right now.

“It’s really unfortunate to be like this at the grand slam where I feel so at home and really want to win.

“I just hope that tomorrow I will be feeling a lot better and be able to give my best on court.”

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