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Serena stretched to three sets, Errani powers into French Open semis

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This year’s French Open has been all about Serena Williams and her career best consecutive match winning streak. She has beaten everyone on the WTA Tour over the few couple of months including the two women most likely to challenge her for this year’s title. Her opponent today though Svetlana Kuzentsova was a bit of an anomaly, being the only unseeded woman in the quarter-finals.

Even so, the 2009 champion challenged the top seed and gave the world no.1 her first real test of the tournament before Williams regained form and momentum to crawl her way back from 0-2 down in the final set to complete a topsy turvy 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory.

For a place in the final, she will have to face 2012 runner-up Sara Errani. The Italian, who had a breakout 2012, put in a powerpacked performance to oust 4th seed Agnieszka Radwanksa in two tight sets of tennis after nearly two hours 6-4, 7-6(6).

Williams, the 2002 champion, had been eliminated at this stage in 4 previous attempts, failing to reach the semi-finals even once since her victory over a decade ago. Still, she was on a 28 match winning streak and was 21-0 on clay. The world no.1 carried her momentum into her match against the 2009 champion, Svetlana Kuzentsova, and closed out the first set with relative comfort 6-1.

Kuzentsova had beaten the world no.1 at the 2009 French Open and knew how to get the better of Serena. In the 2nd set she began to go for her strokes and that began to unsettle the American as she began to make numerous errors and hit a couple of double faults. Kuznetsova raced to a 4-0 lead and won the set 6-3 not letting a late fight back from Williams stop her in the process.

In the third set, the 28 year old Russian continued to play brilliantly and at 2-0, it looked like a huge upset would be witnessed on court. But Williams is one of the toughest competitors in the sport and fought back eventually winning 5 games in a row to move into the semi-finals extending her undefeated streak to 29.

In a post-match on-court interview, a tired Serena Williams said, “I’m very happy to have won this quarterfinal, because the whole night I was afraid of my quarterfinal match," she told the crowd in French. "It was a very tough match today, but it's good for me because, I don't know, but it's very good. I am exhausted."

Errani and Radwanksa also had a topsy turvy match. The first set between the two was straight forward with the better player in Sara Errani using all her varied strokes to get the crucial break and win 6-4 for a one set to love lead.

Radwanksa fought back in 2nd set and got a 3-1 lead. The Italian came back into the match and was in a position to serve it out in the 10th game leading 5-4 but was broken to love. A tense tie breaker followed soon after but Errani had that little extra as she closed it out on the 14th point by winning 8-6.

"I knew it would be a battle against Agnieszka and I was ready for that. It's unbelievable. There was a lot of pressure this year but I made it good," fifth seed Errani said in a courtside interview.

The 5th seed will move into her third career Grand Slam semi-final where she will face an extremely stern test from Serena Williams. If she is to repeat her 2012 runner up finish, she will need to overturn her 0-5 head to head against the world no.1.

Singles: Quarter-finals

(1) S. Williams(USA) d. S. Kuznetsova(RUS) 61 36 63

(5) S. Errani(ITA) d. (4) A. Radwanksa 64 76(6)