Serena Williams hasn't reached the French Open final since winning the tournament back in 2002, but that long drought has come to an end, as Williams took care of No. 5 Sara Errani 6-0, 6-1 in Thursday's semifinal match at Roland Garros.
Despite Errani's appearance in the French Open final just last year, Williams made her look like little more than a qualifier Thursday, as she made quick work of the Italian spark plug.
Williams had 40 winners compared to Errani's two, and Errani won only five of 33 receiving points (15 percent), while Serena won 24 of 35 (69 percent).
Errani attempted to play a defensive game in an effort to remain in points longer, but Serena was simply too powerful and too accurate to contend with.
It was complete domination.
Williams has never had much luck at the French Open, taking the title just once. She reached a new low last year, however, when she was upset by Virginie Razzano in the first round. Serena seemed to rededicate herself after that embarrassing defeat, as she won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, as well as two gold medals at the London Olympics last year.
Serena has continued her stellar play at Roland Garros this year, steamrolling the competition.
Here is a full recap of Williams' semifinal match against Errani, including a breakdown of how the world's No. 1 player rolled on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Serena Blasts Errani in First Set
While Williams historically hasn't had a lot of success on the clay courts at Roland Garros, she came to the court with a look of determination, according to Roland Garros.
Serena came out with guns blazing on Thursday, and she blew away Errani to open the match with a perfect service game, as noted by Roland Garros.
Williams clearly wanted to make a statement after having to outlast Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets during the quarterfinals, and she did precisely that. Serena used her full allotment of weapons against Errani in the first set, and the Italian was no match.
Not only did Serena serve with power and precision, but her ground strokes were also touching the lines, and she even broke out a magical drop shot. Williams could simply do no wrong as she took the first set 6-0 against the No. 5 player in the world in a mere 21 minutes, according to Roland Garros.
There is no question that Serena's dominant performance was impressive, but 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert truly put it in perspective when she stated on the ESPN telecast that it was the greatest set she had ever seen a woman play on red clay.
Williams Finishes off Errani in Short Order
A drop-off was inevitable for Williams in the second set following her first-set explosion, but Errani didn't have much better luck. Serena stormed out to a 3-0 lead and seemed poised to shut out Errani, but the gritty Italian was able to grind out a service game to make it 3-1 in favor of Williams in the second set (h/t Roland Garros).
The crowd exploded and tried to encourage Errani, but winning that game proved to be the highlight of the day for her. Serena brushed off Errani's short burst of energy by reeling off the next three games to close out Errani by a score of 6-0, 6-1.
Serena's performance was impressive no matter how you slice it, but tennis statistician Steph Trudel put her showing into perspective. It took Williams just 46 minutes to dispatch Errani, and she amazingly averaged nearly one winner per minute.
While the match was certainly anticlimactic, the fans cheered after witnessing one of the greatest individual efforts they will ever see in women's tennis. Serena showed her appreciation by holding her fist in the air, captured by Roland Garros.
Now Williams must refocus and prepare for Sharapova in Saturday's final.
What's Next for Serena?
It is nearly impossible for Williams to follow up her performance against Errani with something comparable, but she will look to put the cherry on top of her 2013 French Open run by winning the title against Sharapova.
As Roland Garros so aptly put it, Williams vs. Sharapova promises to be a blockbuster matchup, but it remains to be seen if Sharapova has the tools necessary to cool down a red-hot Serena.
Sharapova has had some measure of success against Williams in the past, but Serena is 3-0 against the Russian star in 2013 and has dropped just one set to her. Also, Williams is 13-2 all-time against Sharapova and has never lost to her on clay, according to Roland Garros.
Sharapova won't willingly give up her French Open crown, but Williams may just take it by force.
There is no question Sharapova will put up a better fight than Errani, as she has plenty of power and mental toughness, but if Williams plays anything like she did on Thursday, Sharapova doesn't stand much of a chance.
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