Serena Williams vs Sara Errani: Previewing Women's French Open Semifinal

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Serena Williams vs Sara Errani: Previewing Women's French Open Semifinal
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

After five grueling rounds at the French Open, Serena Williams and Sara Errani will meet to determine who will get the winner of Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka in the finals at Roland Garros.

A win for Williams would mean returning to the French Open finals for the first time since she won the tournament in 2002. Roland Garros has always been a struggle for the superstar, but she seems to have put those struggles behind her by making it to the semifinal for the first time since 2003.

Errani will come in as the underdog but will be looking to make it back-to-back trips to the French Open finals. She ultimately lost the championship match to Maria Sharapova in 2012.

Let's take a closer look at this pivotal matchup.

 

When: Thursday, June 6 at 11 a.m.

Where: Stade Roland Garros, Paris, France

Watch: NBC

Live StreamNBCSports

 

How They Got Here

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Both women have had their moments of brilliance on their way to the semifinal, and both have been challenged.

Clay has not always been the kindest surface to Williams, but she's in the midst of an impressive streak right now. She's 21-0 on clay this year and has lost just one set in the first five rounds at Roland Garros. That's bad news for the rest of the field.

However, the good news for her opponent is that she dropped the set in her most recent match against Svetlana Kuznetsova, who broke her serve four times in the match and exposed some mortality for the world's No. 1 player. Despite being down 2-0 in the final set, Williams came back and earned the right to play Errani in the semifinal.

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Errani has also been brilliant at times. She breezed through the first thee rounds, winning every match in straight sets. However, she did have some difficulty against Spanish challenger Carla Suarez Navarro, needing three sets to defeat her 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

She recovered nicely in the quarterfinals earning her first career win over a top-five opponent in Agnieszka Radwanska to secure her appearance in the semifinal.

 

Key Question: Has Much Changed Since Their May Match?

You never want to put too much stock in a single previous match, but it has to be noted that these two just played each other in May. Serena earned the victory over Errani in the Madrid Open semifinals, another clay court tournament.

TennisTV tweeted out the match's final stats—they were fairly lopsided.

 

It should be noted that the first set was competitive. Errani utilized her usual high first-serve percentage and battled Williams to a 7-5 first set but ran out of steam and was beaten 6-2 in second set.

Even with 39 unforced errors, Williams won handily. However, it's been more than a month since their match and Errani actually has the more recent experience with success at Roland Garros. Will that be enough to make this match a different story?

 

Prediction

As well as Errani has played to this point, Williams seems like she's on a mission to capture her second French Open title. She battled back against long odds in her last match, and that confidence should allow her to keep focused throughout that match.

Errani has done a commendable job of making it this far, but when Williams is on a roll there's no one better in the world. This should play out much like their first meeting this year.

Williams wins 6-4, 6-3.

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