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French Open: Serena too strong, Djokovic masterful

As the 2015 French Open nears its conclusion, the key players are starting to appear. Novak Djokovic looks in prime position to win the men's draw, while Serena Williams continues to be dominant in the women's.

There were wins for Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Andy Murray at the French Open on Wednesday, as all three reached the tournament semifinals in dominant fashion.

Top seed Serena Williams set up a semi-final clash with Timea Bacsinszky after defeating Italian Sara Errani 6-1, 6-3.

The American had lost the first set in each of her last three matches in Paris but on this occasion she meant business right from the off, breaking immediately. 55 minutes, 39 winners and five breaks of serve later and Williams left the court victorious. "In the last three matches I lost the first set and today I knew I needed to play very well because she is very good here at Roland Garros so it was very important for me," said Williams afterwards.

Williams, who is looking for her third title at Roland Garros and 20th career Grand Slam crown, will face Bacsinszky after the 23rd seed from Switzerland beat unseeded Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4, 7-5 in the day's other quarter-final tie.

Bacsinszky produced a fearless brand of baseline tennis to become the first Swiss woman since Martina Hingis in 2001 to reach the last four at Roland Garros. Van Uytvanck, who was bidding to become the lowest ranked woman to reach the semi-finals of the clay court major, barely had a chance to blink before she found herself 3-0 down in the first set.

"This is just incredible," said the 25-year-old, who two years ago was ready to quit the sport and had enrolled in a hotel school as she prepared to change careers, has struck a rich seam of form this season, winning back-to-back hard-court titles in Mexico. "I'm proud of how I've been fighting. This was a difficult match, I had my tactics ready but I needed to find a solution at the end to win," said Bacsinszky afterwards.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic

Can Djokovic seal the title that has long evaded him?

New-age Novak

World number one Novak Djokovic handed nine-times champion Rafa Nadal only his second defeat in 11 years at Roland Garros to reach the semi-finals of the French Open with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 win on Wednesday.

The Spaniard recovered to level from a 4-0 deficit in the first set, but still lost the opener and once Djokovic had broken in the second, there was no way back for the once clay court king.

The Serb, looking to win the only grand slam missing from his collection, will take on third seed Andy Murray after the Scotsman beat Spain's David Ferrer, the seventh seed, in four sets.

Murray, who has been touted as the favorite to challenge Djokovic this year, ousted Ferrer 7-6, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1. Despite a mini rally from Ferrer in the third, Murray kept his composure to seal a spot in the semifinals.

jh/rd (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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