Kuznetsova beats Serena to face Stosur in semis

Svetlana Kuznetsova ended Serena Williams' 18-match Grand Slam winning streak by winning 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-5 in the French Open quarter-finals.

updated: June 03, 2009 15:17 IST
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Svetlana Kuznetsova squandered a big lead on Wednesday but still ended Serena Williams' 18-match Grand Slam winning streak by winning 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-5 in the French Open quarter-finals.

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. 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.

Kuznetsova, the 2004 U.S. Open champion, is seeking her second major title. Her opponent on Thursday will be Samantha Stosur of Australia, who reached her first major semi-final by beating Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-1, 6-3.

Stosur, 25, has never won a tour title.

Kuznetsova bounced back from being sent to the court in a messy spill that left her covered with clay.

Kuznetsova was serving one point from a 5-2 lead in the second set when she turned her right ankle in pursuit of a shot and fell on her back. She rose with clay covering the back of her shirt and the length of her right arm. Dirt was in her hair and even on her forehead.

She was unhurt and play quickly resumed, but it took awhile for Kuznetsova to regain her footing.

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.

The men's quarter-finals on Wednesday matched Roger Federer against Frenchman Gael Monfils, and Juan Martin del Potro against Tommy Robredo.

In the women's semi-finals on Thursday, top-ranked Dinara Safina will face No. 20-seeded Dominika Cibulkova. Safina hopes to reach the final for the third time in the past five major events, while Cibulkova is playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal.