Limping Williams struggles into final
The first women's semi-final turned into a test of endurance yesterday, and not only for the few spectators who braved floods and transport strikes to show up. Out on Court Philippe Chatrier, Serena Williams and Kiki Bertens were both hobbling around at three-quarter pace because of niggling injuries.
This is not meant to be a criticism. Both women demonstrated admirable fire and determination, given that Bertens was carrying a strained calf, while Williams - who eventually came through to set up a final against Garbine Muguruza - arrived with a damaged groin.
In Williams's case, this has been another painful slog after last year's run to the title here, when she was battling a virus and spent the night before the final shivering in bed.
This time, her movement has been suspect for the past couple of rounds, and she is increasingly having to rely on out-and-out aggression to keep the points short.
Today's final will thus pit Williams against Muguruza, who was ruthless in disposing of Sam Stosur 6-2, 6-4. These two also met in the Wimbledon final last year, where Williams claimed her most recent slam title to move to within one of Steffi Graf's record. But it was their only previous encounter at the French Open, in 2014, that really made Muguruza's name.
She ousted the favourite 6-2, 6-2 in one of the shocks of the season.