Serena Williams’s quest to win her fourth French Open title survived a strong upset bid from unseeded Yulia Putintseva in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
After dropping the opening set to the world No. 60, Williams clinched her third semifinals appearance in four years at Roland Garros by prevailing in a close second set and breezing through the decider.
Williams’s 5–7, 6–4, 6–1 victory sends her to the semifinals, where she will play Kiki Bertens after the Dutchwoman upset No. 8 Timea Bacsinszky on Thursday.
Williams remains one Slam title behind Steffi Graf’s all–time Open Era record of 22. Her most recent major title came at Wimbledon last year.
Williams was sloppy throughout the match, recording 24 unforced errors in the first set alone, compared to just two for Putintseva. But Williams improved her play in the second set, reducing her errors and holding on after Putintseva rallied from 4–1 down to even the set at four games apiece.
The 21–time Slam winner prevailed despite recording 43 unforced errors, compared to just 16 for Putintseva.
Prior to this year’s French Open, Putintseva had never made it past the third round of a Slam. Putintseva, 21, is winless in three matches against Williams.
Williams has won two of the last three French Opens.
- Stanley Kay