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French Open PHOTOS: Djokovic to face Thiem in semis; Serena staggers into last four

Last updated on: June 02, 2016 23:03 IST

Photos from the French Open matches played at the Roland Garros on Thursday

 USA's Serena Williams in action against Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva during their French Open quarter-finals at Roland Garros on Thursday

IMAGE: USA's Serena Williams in action against Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva during their French Open quarter-finals at Roland Garros on Thursday. Photograph: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

Defending champion Serena Williams survived a fright as she laboured into the semi-finals of the French Open with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 victory against Kazakh Yulia Putintseva on Thursday.

The World No 1, who will take on Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens for a place in Saturday's final, made a mess of numerous routine shots as her opponent took the opening set having made only one unforced error.

The American survived two break points at 4-4 in the second set, which she eventually won when world number 60 Putintseva served a double fault.

The momentum had swung Williams's way and the American crushed Putintseva in the decider, wrapping it up on her fourth match point with an unreturnable serve.

Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens celebrates after defeating Swiss Timea Bacsinszky during their French Open quarter-final on Thursday. Bertens will battle with Serena Williams for a place in the semis.

IMAGE: Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens celebrates after defeating Swiss Timea Bacsinszky during their French Open quarter-final on Thursday. Bertens will battle with Serena Williams for a place in the semis. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens advanced to her first major semi-final after defeating Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-2 in their quarter-final on Thursday.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic hits a forehand against Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych during their French Open quarters at Roland Garros in Paris on Thursday

IMAGE: Serbia's Novak Djokovic hits a forehand against Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych during their French Open quarters at Roland Garros in Paris on Thursday. Photograph: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic moved a step closer to a maiden French Open title when he swept aside Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals at Roland Garros on Thursday.

The World No 1, whose half of the draw got easier after nine-times champion Rafael Nadal pulled out injured last week, will next take on either Austrian tyro Dominic Thiem or the cheeky Belgian David Goffin.

Serbian Djokovic breezed through the opening set, overcame a slight glitch in the second and came back stronger after a brief rain interruption to seal a straightforward win.

He ended the contest on his second match point when Berdych returned into the net.

Austria's Dominic Thiem plays a return against David Goffin during their French Open quarter-final on Thursday

IMAGE: Austria's Dominic Thiem plays a return against David Goffin during their French Open quarter-final on Thursday. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

World No 13 Austrian Dominic Thiem went through to his first grand slam semi-final after burying Belgian David Goffin 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 6-1 in their quarte-final clash.
The Austrian will face World No 1 Djokovic for a place in the final.

Both players took time to find their range in cold, damp conditions and the first three games yielded three breaks of serve, including one that 12th-seeded Goffin conceded on a double fault.

Thiem, seeded 13, began finding the lines with heavy groundstrokes off both wings but, as his accuracy then waned, the Belgian tightened his defensive play, creating openings to attack the Austrian's weaker backhand and winning the set on his first set point.

But after a tight second set that Thiem shaded 9-7 in the tiebreak, the Austrian added the precision that his power game had earlier been missing to take the third and fourth sets more comfortably.

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