Serena struggles through
Originally published on: 26/02/10 13:00
Williams survived a massive scare before going through with a 3-6 7-5 6-4 win over Aravane Rezai while Russian Dementieva had a convincing win over Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-3 6-1.
After dropping just seven games in her previous two matches, Williams struggled on serve early as Rezai had all the early break-point chances in the first set before eventually converting her sixth opportunity in the seventh game.
The world number 27 broke again at 5-3 to seal the first set and carried that momentum into the second where she gained an early break to move out to a 4-1 lead.
But the Frenchwoman got the jitters when serving for the match at 5-3 and a double fault at 30-30 handed Williams her first break-point opportunity, which she duly converted.
The American broke again, winning five games in a row to take the second set and force a decider.
The pair traded breaks twice in the final set before Williams was finally able to consolidate and close out the match in just over two hours.
In the other semi-final, fifth seed Dementieva produced a dominant performance over sixth-seeded Azarenka that lasted just over an hour.
In the men’s draw, fourth seed Lleyton Hewitt lost his quarter-final with Marcos Baghdatis, who will next face American Mardy Fish, who beat Australia’s Peter Luczak 7-6 (7/5) 6-2.
In the top half of the draw, Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau won their respective quarter-final matches and will now meet in an all-French semi-final. Gasquet defeated Italian Potito Starace 6-3 7-6 (9-7), while Benneteau needed more than two hours to overcome Argentinian qualifier Leonardo Mayer 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-0.