Serena Williams of the U.S. clenches her fist after scoring a point in the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Kazakhstans Yulia Putintseva at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Michel
Michel Euler
June 02, 2016

PARIS (AP) The Latest on the French Open (all times local):


9:45 p.m.

On the second weekend of May, Kiki Bertens took the first step on what, for the French Open semifinalist, has now become a storybook journey.

The 58th-ranked player from the Netherlands was in Nuremberg, Germany, trying to qualify for its modest clay-court tournament offering a top prize of $43,000.

An unbeaten string of 12 matches later, Bertens is now in a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time, with defending champion Serena Williams waiting on the other side of the net and at least $558,000 in her pocket for being among the last four standing from the 128 who started two Sundays ago at Roland Garros.

She readily admits that she would have scoffed, dismissed it as "the best joke ever," had someone predicted this future for her back in Nuremberg. She won two qualifying rounds there to make the main draw and then five more matches including the final. She continued the run in Paris, toppling four seeded players among her five victims before facing Williams. The latest was eighth-seeded quarterfinalist Timea Bacsinszky, outfoxed 7-5, 6-2.

"It's incredible," Bertens said. "My whole family is here and friends came today to watch the match."

"I was like, 'Can you believe it?' Because I cannot. And also my parents were like, 'No, this is not happening.' But, yeah, it is."

Bertens lost 7-6(5), 6-3 to Williams in their only previous meeting, in the second round of last year's U.S. Open. Williams remembers her as a "really tough" opponent with "a big serve and a big forehand."

And, now, with a big smile, too.


8:25 p.m.

After the rains, a bargain.

The French Open is offering 20-euro ($22) tickets to see men's and women's semifinals Friday, including No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. Dominic Thiem.

To try to ensure that all four semifinals get finished in uncertain weather, organizers have split them up.

Serena Williams vs. Kiki Bertens, and Andy Murray vs. Stan Wawrinka, will be on Court Philippe Chatrier, which was originally meant to be the venue for all semifinals. Friday tickets for Chatrier first went on sale months ago, at a starting price of 650 euros ($725 euros).

At the same time as those matches, fourth-seeded Garbine Muguruza's semifinal against Samantha Stosur and the Djokovic match will now be played next door on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Organizers hope that holding semifinals simultaneously on separate courts will allow the eventual finalists to have the same amount of recovery time before the championship matches - on Saturday for the women and Sunday for the men.

To help fill the 10,000 seats on Lenglen that were mostly empty Thursday during Bertens' quarterfinal victory against Timea Bacsinszky, organizers announced the sale of 8,000 cheap tickets on their website.

In a gesture to frustrated fans, ticket-holders from Tuesday will also be allowed to get onto Lenglen for free. They saw just 2 hours, 1 minute of play amid rain - just missing out on wet-weather refunds paid when there is less than two hours of play.

"We know we have frustrated a lot of people," tournament director Guy Forget said. "We wanted to offer a little gift to all those who were in the stands on Tuesday who saw just 2 hours and 1 minute of tennis."


7:45 p.m.

Under pressure against his friend David Goffin in the French Open quarterfinals, Dominic Thiem was bracing for defeat.

The No. 12-seeded Goffin won the first set and then had set point at 7-6 in the tiebreaker in the second set.

"In the second set I didn't really think that I'm going to win this match because he was just on top of me," Thiem said. "I didn't know what to do because he was returning well. He didn't make any mistakes."

Thiem trailed 4-2 in the third set but then rallied to reach the semifinals of a major for the first time.

"It's a little bit unreal," said the No. 13-seeded Austrian, who won 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-1 and faces 11-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic in the semis.

"It's going to be unbelievably tough," Thiem said. "I think he's a little bit on a different level than all the other players."


6:30 p.m.

Serena Williams' opponent in the French Open semifinals will be unseeded Kiki Bertens.

The 58th-ranked player from the Netherlands beat eighth-seeded Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-2.

Bertens is deep into unchartered territory. Before this French Open, just once in 15 previous Grand Slam tournaments did she advance beyond the second round - making the fourth round at Roland Garros in 2014.

Bacsinszky is the fourth seeded player to fall to Bertens' march to the semifinals.

After winning the first set, Bertens got treatment on her left calf, which was taped from the start of the match on a near-deserted Court Suzanne Lenglen. She gave a happy thumbs up as the trainer wrapped the muscle in a bandage. The niggle didn't appear to affect her play or mobility.

Bertens immediately broke Bacsinszky to jump to a 2-0 second-set lead. Her Swiss opponent, who has shown good humor in press appearances at the tournament, grappled with mounting frustration, muttering to herself between points.

On her next service game, Bacsinszky hit a backland long on breakpoint to increase Bertens' lead to 4-0. Bacsinszky then got a break back and held serve to recover to 2-4.

But Bertens saved three break points in the seventh game to take a 5-2 lead. She hit a crisp backhand winner on her second match point for the victory.


6:10 p.m.

Defending champion Serena Williams came back from a set and a break down to beat 60th-ranked Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 and reach the French Open semifinals.

In search of a record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam title, the No. 1-seeded Williams won despite 43 unforced errors.

How close was Williams to her earliest exit at a major tournament since Wimbledon in 2014? Putintseva twice was a point from serving for the biggest victory of her career.


5:40 p.m.

Unseeded Kiki Bertens has won the first set of her French Open quarterfinal against eighth-seeded Timea Bacsinszky, with both players struggling to hold serve in gloomy conditions on an almost deserted Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Bertens was broken in the third, fifth and ninth games - twice after serving double-faults to give Bacsinszky break points.

Bacsinszky dropped serve in games four, eight and 10, when serving for the set, and again in the 12th game to hand Bertens the set at 7-5.

The winner will play either defending champion Serena Williams or Yulia Putintseva in the semifinals.


5:35 p.m.

Serena Williams has evened her French Open quarterfinal against 60th-ranked Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan at a set apiece

Putintseva won the first set 7-5. Williams took the second 6-4, breaking in the last game with Putintseva double-faulted.


4:45 p.m.

Serena Williams has dropped the first set of her French Open quarterfinal against 60th-ranked Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 7-5.

Williams made 24 unforced errors in the set, to only two by Putintseva.

Williams is seeking her second consecutive title at Roland Garros and record-equaling 22nd major championship overall.


4:20 p.m.

Serena Williams is not off to the greatest start in her French Open quarterfinal against Yulia Putintseva, making the first 11 unforced errors of the match and falling behind 3-1.

They are playing again after a brief rain delay.


4:10 p.m.

Dominic Thiem advanced to the French Open semifinals by beating David Goffin 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-1.

The two were competing in the quarterfinals of a major tournament for the first time and are also good friends.

The 13th-seeded Thiem won nine straight games when trailing 4-2 in the second set before Goffin finally held serve.

Goffin, seeded 12th, hit himself in the face with the racket during the second set. The Belgian tossed his racket up in the air but failed to catch it.

Thiem, who is from Austria, will face 11-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.


4 p.m.

Serena Williams' French Open quarterfinal against Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan is being delayed by rain.

The players had been on Court Philippe Chatrier for 10 minutes with the score 1-1 when they walked off.

Play is continuing in the other men's quarterfinal, between David Goffin and Dominic Thiem on Court Suzanne Lenglen.


3:25 p.m.

Novak Djokovic won the last three games after the briefest of rain delays and moved into the French Open semifinals for a record sixth consecutive year.

Eyeing his first title at Roland Garros to complete a career Grand Slam, the No. 1-seeded Djokovic beat No. 7 Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 on Thursday.

It is Djokovic's 30th career major semifinal. Only Roger Federer, with 39, and Jimmy Connors, with 31, have participated in more in the Open era.

If Djokovic can win this French Open, it would give him four consecutive Grand Slam titles, something no man has done since Rod Laver won all four in 1969.


3:15 p.m.

Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych have resumed their French Open quarterfinal after a brief rain delay.


3:10 p.m.

Novak Djokovic's French Open quarterfinal against Tomas Berdych is being delayed by rain.

Djokovic won the first two sets 6-3, 7-5, and they are even at 3-3 in the third on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Play is continuing in the other men's quarterfinal, between David Goffin and Dominic Thiem on Court Suzanne Lenglen.


1:25 p.m.

Play is under way at the French Open under heavy clouds and with the rain in the forecast.

Top-seeded Novak Dkokovic is first up on Court Philippe Chatrier on Thursday, playing his quarterfinal against No. 7 Tomas Berdych.

In the other remaining men's quarterfinal, No. 12 David Goffin of Belgium is facing No. 13 Dominic Thiem of Austria on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

If the weather holds, the last two women's quarterfinals will be contested later: defending champion Serena Williams against Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan, and No. 8 Timea Bacsiszky of Switzerland against Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.

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