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Serena on course for third Paris Open title

February 14, 2009 08:21 IST

World number one Serena Williams stepped up her bid for a third Paris Open title by reaching the semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Emilie Loit on Friday.

The American, winner here in 1999 and 2003, next plays Olympic champion Elena Dementieva after the Russian saw off another Frenchwoman, Nathalie Dechy, 6-3, 6-2.

Amelie Mauresmo provided consolation for the home fans when she crushed Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, the fourth seed, 6-2 6-0 in the day's last match.

Eighth seed Mauresmo next meets fellow former world number one Jelena Jankovic after the Serbian second seed knocked out France's Alize Cornet 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

Williams was particularly pleased with her serve against left-hander Loit.

"It did not matter if I won or lost, I just wanted to play well," she told reporters.

"She plays a funny game but I served well."

Williams opened a 3-0 lead and although Loit broke back, the Frenchwoman surrendered her serve again to lose the set.

The second set was a stroll, the Australian Open champion wrapping up victory after 66 minutes.

Jankovic produced another erratic performance but eventually eased past Cornet after a two and a half hour battle.


The Serb broke twice to go 5-2 up but let the advantage slip as Cornet won five games in a row.

Cornet failed to maintain the momentum in the second set and dropped her serve in the third game.

That break was enough for Jankovic to level, especially as the Frenchwoman seemed troubled by a shoulder injury she picked up at last month's Australian Open.

Following an early exchange of breaks in the third set, Jankovic broke again in the seventh game and called a medical time out to have her blistered feet treated.

However, it did not prevent her wrapping up the win on her second match point when Cornet sent a backhand wide.

"It was an intense match," said Jankovic. "Physically it was down to who would manage to stay longer on the court. There was a lot of running."

The Serb, who made 46 unforced errors, said she was not bothered after struggling in her first three matches at the Coubertin stadium.

"I was out there fighting," she said. "What matters is that despite the circumstances, no Hawkeye (ball tracker), the crowd being with her, I managed to win."

Things were easier for Dementieva, who broke twice in each set and was never troubled on serve by Dechy in a match that lasted just over an hour.

"I am happy because now I am more focused at the beginning of a match. I knew I had to be focused from the start today because she is an experienced player," said Dementieva.

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