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Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Wednesday, 3 June 2009 16:05 UK

Kuznetsova too strong for Serena

FRENCH OPEN
Venue: Roland Garros Date: 24 May - 7 June
Coverage: Live on BBC Red Button, live streaming and daily text commentary on BBC Sport website, commentary on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra, plus updates on BBC Radio 5 Live. TV coverage on Eurosport.


Svetlana Kuznetsova

Highlights - Kuznetsova sees off Serena

Seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova ended Serena Williams' hopes of a second French Open title with a topsy-turvy victory in the quarter-finals in Paris.

The Russian withstood a first-set fightback from the 2002 champion but was broken twice as she threw away the second set after serving for victory.

Williams began the decider well but seemed to tire, allowing Kuznetsova to seal a 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 7-5 victory.

Kuznetsova faces Samantha Stosur next after she beat Sorana Cirstea 6-1 6-3.

Top seed Dinara Safina will play Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova in Thursday's other semi-final.

Kuznetsova got off to a flying start against Williams on Court Suzanne Lenglen, securing an early double break with a fabulous running backhand pass that even had her opponent applauding.

I lost because of me and not because of anything she did

Serena Williams

But the Russian could not maintain that early pace and a double-fault on break point in the following game brought Williams back into the match.

The pair held serve in a high-quality set until Williams stepped up a gear to break again in a superb 10th game that included a brilliant drop shot and a wrong-footing backhand.

Kuznetsova saved a set point on serve two games later, and she moved clear in the tie-break with stunning winners off the forehand and backhand on her way to taking it 7-3.

Williams, the second seed, could not contain Kuznetsova at the start of the second, a magnificent lob helping the Russian break before a net-cord secured a 3-0 lead.

The 2004 US Open champion came under the expected pressure on serve and, moments after a heavy fall, she went wide with a backhand as Williams broke back to trail 4-3.

606: DEBATE

That appeared to herald a fightback from the American but Kuznetsova responded with an immediate break of her own, only to falter when serving for the match and Williams then levelled at 5-5.

This time, Williams was able to maintain the initiative, breaking again on her way to the second set and again at the beginning of the decider thanks to a huge backhand winner down the line.

Kuznetsova was seemingly there for the taking but the American could not press home her advantage, instead looking tired as she was broken back to 3-3, in what was the beginning of the end for her hopes.

Some big serving from Williams saw her through her next service game but, at 4-5, some wild groundstrokes handed Kuznetsova two match points.

Sam Stosur
Stosur is better known on the women's Tour for her doubles prowess

Both were saved, but it was just postponing the inevitable. Kuznetsova held with ease and quickly had her opponent on the ropes again at 15-40 - this time wrapping up her win when Serena wearily put a backhand into the tramlines.

"I think I lost because of me and not because of anything she did," said a demoralised Williams afterwards.

"In the third set I had an opportunity but I was a bit tight. I basically handed it to her. It was like: 'Here, do you want it? Cos I don't.' And she was like: 'OK.'"

Williams had struggled for form and fitness going into Roland Garros and admitted that she had exceeded her expectations by going as far as she did the tournament.

"I started out really bad," she said. "Just physically, I wasn't the best. I was trying to make it. I didn't have great matches coming in here, and I started out on a losing streak.

"I guess I was just on a hope and a dream, and now it's over."

Kuznetsova, who lost to Williams in three sets in the quarter-finals at this year's Australian Open, was just relieved to come through, saying: "It was a really tough match, it was difficult for me.

I'm over the moon. Happy, excited, every single positive emotion possible at the moment

Samantha Stosur

"I'm very proud that I could push myself and keep fighting in the third set and this is what brought me the victory because I fought to the end."

On Court Philippe Chatrier, Australian 30th seed Stosur faced unseeded 19-year-old Cirstea in a surprise quarter-final as neither player had previously made the second week of a Grand Slam.

Stosur, 25, had seen off fourth seed Elena Dementieva on her way to the last eight, and Cirstea upset fifth seed Jelena Jankovic, but it was the Australian who dominated from the outset.

She raced through the first set for the loss of just one game and held off a more determined challenge in the second to win in one hour 20 minutes.

"I'm over the moon. Happy, excited, every single positive emotion possible at the moment," said Stosur, who spent nearly 12 months out of the game after being laid low by fatigue-inducing Lyme's disease in 2007.

"Over the last couple of years it's been pretty tough at times. The French Open last year was my first Grand Slam after being out for nearly a year and from last year to this year, I just can't compare it."



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see also
French Open day 11 as it happened
03 Jun 09 |  Tennis
French Open day 11 pictures
03 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Safina fights back to reach semis
02 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
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Daily Times Kuznetsova to face Safina in French Open final - 12 hrs ago
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