Unseeded Bertens gets 'crazy' French Open semi-final berth
PARIS (Reuters) - Delighted Dutch outsider Kiki Bertens reached her first grand slam semi-final on Thursday, keeping a cool head to defeat eighth-seeded Swiss Timea Bacsinszky with the help of a seven-game winning streak.
The win will bring her face to face on Friday with world number one Serena Williams, a match the 58th-ranked player -- who had never previously gone beyond the last 16 of a major -- promised to enjoy.
"I am just going to go out there and have fun again and give my all," Bertens said courtside after her 7-5 6-2 victory, calling her march to the semi-final "unbelievable... crazy.".
Thursday's first set featured seven breaks and developed into something of an attritional contest, with neither Bertens nor Bacsinszky often chancing their arm at the net or able to dominate the often long groundstroke rallies.
Bacsinszky, seeking to reach the Paris semi-final for the second year running, looked to have made the conclusive break in game nine, passing Bertens at the net with a crosscourt forehand on the fourth deuce point.
But the Dutchwoman immediately broke back and then broke again for the set after holding her own serve. In all she won seven of 14 break points while her opponent converted just four of 13 and made 40 unforced errors against the Dutchwoman's 31.
That three-game sequence -- together with a medical timeout between sets for Bertens to get her left calf strapped -- seemed to unnerve Bacsinszky, who also lost the next four games.
The Swiss finally stopped the rot in the fifth game of the second set, winning another epic on the fifth deuce point and, effectively varying her play by adding a dropshot to her armoury, also took the next game.
But that was as far as the comeback went with Bertens then taking two deuce games and wrapping things up with a backhand winner on her second match point.
(Reporting by John Stonestreet)