Illness fails to prevent Williams reaching Paris final

Serena Williams.
Serena Williams.
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Serena Williams survived another scare at the French Open as the American battled back from a set down to beat Timea Bacsinszky and secure her place in the final.

Williams has now come from a set down to win four times at this tournament, trumping her previous grand slam record of three, as the top seed showed her relentless fighting spirit again to win 4-6 6-3 6-0.

The world No 1 will now play Czech Lucie Safarova in the final as she bids to win her third title at Roland Garros and 20th overall.

Williams was visibly under the weather throughout the match on the Philippe Chatrier court, coughing and spluttering in between points, but, as so often in her career, she found a way through.

“I thought I had lost but I found some energy and I won,” said Williams. “I hope I get better for Saturday. I feel ill.”

Williams also had to contend with a brilliant display from Bacsinszky, who almost gave up tennis two years ago when she began an internship in hotel management to work in restaurants.

It was Bacsinszky’s first appearance in a grand slam semi-final, but the Swiss showed no signs of nerves early on, serving an ace to hold her first service game.

She more than held her own in the rallies too, taking Williams’s ground-shots as early as possible and pinning the American back with a number of driving double handed backhands.

Williams will now play Safarova tomorrow after the Czech beat Serbian Ana Ivanovic 7-5 7-5 to go through to her first grand slam final.

Asked if being in her first grand slam final had sunken in yet, Safaraova replied: “Not yet. It’s slowly sinking in and it’s just amazing. The happiness is unreal.”