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France And the U.S. Lose Final Hopes For French Crown

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils 2009 French Open SemifinalGael Monfils, France
(Photo by Getty Images)

PARIS (AP) — Getting into a groove at the French Open, Roger Federer is two victories from completing a career Grand Slam and tying Pete Sampras' record for major titles.

After three consecutive so-so performances, Federer was challenged only fleetingly in the quarterfinals Wednesday at Roland Garros before beating 11th-seeded Gael Monfils of France 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-4.

Federer reached the semifinals for the 20th consecutive Grand Slam tournament, extending his own record.

"I felt some pressure before this match," Federer said. "I was very nervous, because I thought it would be very difficult."

He did face two break points in the opening game of the match, and another at 5-5 in the first set — but saved each of them.

Then, in the tiebreaker, Monfils held a set point at 6-5, but again Federer held steady, and the Frenchman sent a backhand wide to make it 6-all. Two points later — a service winner and a volley winner by Federer — the set was over, and so, essentially, was the match.

"Maybe I took too many risks at the beginning," the second-seeded Federer said, "but I was worried about his forehand."

"Today," Monfils said, "he didn't miss a lot."

Is Federer the favorite?

"He still has two tough matches if he wants to win, but I think he can do it," said Monfils, who lost to Federer in last year's semifinals in Paris. "He should be very motivated to win, so, yeah, why not?"

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams 2009 FrenchSerena Williams, USA
(Photo by Getty Images)

PARIS (AP) — One shot by Serena Williams sent Svetlana Kuznetsova to the court in a messy spill that left her covered with clay.The resilient Russian was down but not out. She squandered a big lead in the second set Wednesday but ended Williams' 18-match Grand Slam winning streak in the French Open quarterfinals, 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-5.

Williams, seeded second, was seeking her third successive major title and the 11th of her career.

The No. 7-seeded Kuznetsova faced a set point serving at 5-6 in the first set but erased it with a slam and won that set. After her tumble in the second set, Williams rallied three points from defeat to even the match, then took a 3-1 lead in the third.

Kuznetsova mounted the final comeback and broke serve in the last game when Williams pushed a backhand wide.

The seesaw struggle was this close: Midway through the third set, each player had won 100 points.

The Russian won with high-risk tennis, whacking winners into both corners and sometimes choosing angles that surprised Williams. Kuznetsova showed lots of variety, too — when she hit a crosscourt lob, Williams staggered helplessly as she watched the ball land beyond her reach.

Williams was sometimes betrayed by uncertain footwork on the clay, which led to repeated errors on her forehand side down the stretch.

Posted by Shelia

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