Serena Williams came from a set down against Yulia Putintseva to advance to the semi-final of this year’sFrench Open this afternoon.
The defending champion – chasing a 22nd Slam title and a fourth at Roland Garros – found herself a break down in the rain-delayed third game of the contest when her Kazakh opponent took advantage of the second of two break points with a sharp forehand down the line.
The world number one was back on parity soon enough, twice holding to love, but Putintseva once again grabbed the advantage with the score at 5-5. Clearly affected by the weather conditions on Philippe-Chatrier, Williams squandered three game points as the Putintseva claimed the break before wrapping up the set 7-5.
Things looked to be going from bad to worse for Williams at the start of the second set, with Putintseva claiming a break in the opening game and going 40-15 up in the second. That proved to be a turning point in the contest, however, as Williams’s resolve took over and she fought back for a break, before racing into a 4-1 lead.
Putintseva did manage to claw a break back but it was not enough as Williams wrapped up a 6-4 win to send the contest into a deciding set.
From there on it was plain sailing for Williams, with two fast breaks that almost saw Putintseva go for a bagel, but the world number 60 did get some consolation, holding to 30 in what turned out to be the penultimate game.
Her effort merely delayed the inevitable though, as Williams finally capped off the match for a 5-7 6-4 6-1 victory.