Serena chokes at Open

American Serena Williams, of all people, got a case of the jitters.

Serena Williams lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinal of the French Open on Wednesday.

PARIS — American Serena Williams, of all people, got a case of the jitters.

That was her explanation, anyway.

The 10-time Grand Slam champion kept finding herself in, then out of, trouble in the French Open quarter-finals Wednesday, until running out of stamina and strokes down the stretch of a 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-5 loss to Svetlana Kuznetsova that ended Williams’s 18-match winning streak at major tournaments.

“I had an opportunity, and I got really tight, and I pretty much gave it to her,” said the second-seeded Williams, who blew a 3-1 lead in the third set. “It was like, ‘Here. Do you want to go to the semis? Because I don’t.’ She was like, ’OK.’ ”

The seventh-seeded Kuznetsova’s semifinal opponent Thursday is No. 30 Samantha Stosur of Australia, who defeated Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-1, 6-3.

The other women’s semifinal is No. 1 Dinara Safina of Russia against No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia.

If Stosur-Cirstea was as onesided as could be, Kuznetsova-Williams was hyper-competitive and superbly played. Until, at least, Kuznetsova took eight of the last nine points, breaking Williams in the final game.

“Honestly, I think I lost because of me,” Williams said, “and not because of anything she did.”

Williams advanced to the match by downing Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., in the previous round.

Williams denied she felt fatigued, blaming nerves instead.

How could that be?

“Maybe I put some expectations on myself that I didn’t put on myself initially,” she said.

Switzerland’s Roger Federer spoke about dealing with nerves Wednesday, too, although his problems came before he began playing 11th-seeded Gael Monfils of France.

“We’re all nervous at this stage of the competition. I felt it. Yesterday I felt it, and I felt it again today in the warmup,” said Federer, who knows this might be his best chance to win the only Grand Slam tournament missing from his resume. “I was tired, I was nervous, and I didn’t feel really good.

“Then once out on court, you know, I get my act together.”

There’s an understatement.

Federer beat Monfils 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-4 to close in on completing a career Grand Slam and earning a 14th major title to tie American Pete Sampras’s career record.

Meanwhile, a Canadian advanced in junior women’s doubles. Katarena Paliivets of Richmond Hill, Ont., and partner Chanel Simmonds of South Africa moved into the quarter-finals after a 6-4, 6-2 win over Americans Christina Mchale and Sloane Stephens.

Next up for Federer is No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, who eliminated No. 16 Tommy Robredo in straight sets. Friday’s other men’s semifinal will be No. 23 Robin Soderling of Sweden — the man who upset four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal in the fourth round — against No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez.

Federer is 26-1 against the other semifinalists, including 5-0 against del Potro.

“Doesn’t mean because I have a great record against all the players left in the draw that, you know, I’m going to win this,” Federer said, “but I’ll definitely try everything I possibly can to do it.”

He is into his 20th consecutive major semifinal, extending his own record; del Potro is in the first of his career.

Just Posted

Cannabis legalization won’t impact one Red Deer pot dispensary

Nothing changes for Compass Cannabis Clinic in Red Deer despite legalization

Cannabis retail store will open later in October in Red Deer

Two cannabis stores coming to downtown Red Deer

Neighbours drop opposition to Red Deer County communications tower

Communication tower to be located in Balmoral Heights

Legal cannabis comes with many unknowns: Red Deer County councillors

Councillors question how rural municipalities will be able to enforce cannabis regulations

Kitten season puts pressure on Red Deer shelter

More public education needed to control cat population

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

‘Start low, go slow’: Experts walk bud beginners through cannabis 101

With the countdown to cannabis legalization Wednesday ticking towards 4-20, some novice… Continue reading

NHL stays with status quo as Canada pot legalization looms

As Riley Cote took and delivered countless punches over more than a… Continue reading

Paul Stanley: Kiss farewell tour could include ex-members

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — It won’t be all night, but former members… Continue reading

Judge tosses Stormy Daniels’ defamation suit against Trump

WASHINGTON — A federal judge dismissed Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President… Continue reading

Canada open to growing trade with China now that USMCA is a done deal: PM

TORONTO — Canada is open to doing more business with China now… Continue reading

Pot shop raids “highly unlikely” on Wednesday: head of police chiefs

VANCOUVER — Police departments across Canada are fully prepared for marijuana legalization… Continue reading

Campers will be able to smoke cannabis at campsites in Canada’s national parks

Parks Canada says visitors should do their research on cannabis before going… Continue reading

U.S. pot firms urge Trump to deny Canadian producers’ ‘competitive advantage’

WASHINGTON — An American cannabis producer is warning President Donald Trump that… Continue reading

Most Read