In one of the more dramatic if not overpowering performances of her career, Serena Williams overcame illness to overwhelm Timea Bacsinszky and advance to the French Open final.
Williams, battling a bad case of the flu, won 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 and will play 13th-seeded Lucie Safarova in the final at Roland Garros on Saturday.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been this sick,” a weary Williams told ESPN afterward. “I can’t believe I won. I got the flu after my third-round match. I’ve been struggling ever since and haven’t gotten better.”
Williams, 33, had bags under eyes and a coughing fit interrupted her interview with French TV. Given how ill she appeared, it was amazing that she was upright. On changeovers, she wept and, down 2-3 in the second set, she appeared to throw up into a towel. After that, she won 10 games in a row, somehow, on the warmest day of the tournament.
“I honestly don’t know [how],” she said. “I thought I was going to lose and I thought if I’m going to lose, I’m going to go for winners.”