Serena Williams to continue record-equalling chase at French Open

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Williams plans to dust herself down after the disappointment of another failed attempt at a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title and her chase at Roland Garros this month. Williams crashed out of the semi-finals on Thursday, blowing a set lead to lose in three hard-fought sets to former world number Victoria Azarenka. “It’s obviously disappointing but at the same time I did what I could today,” a weary-looking Williams told reporters.

“It feels like other times I’ve been close and I could have done better and today I felt like I gave a lot,” she added. It has been more than three years since Williams won her 23rd singles major title at the 2017 Australian —when she was already pregnant with daughter Olympia. She has come close since, reaching four major finals only to come away empty handed, and needs one more to match Margaret Court’s record of 24. Many commentators suggested that this week at Flushing Meadows presented her with her best opportunity due to a depleted field caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

A tournament victory for Williams would also have seen her break away from Chris Evert, on six titles, as the most decorated US Open champion of the women’s game in the modern era. Williams, who has a history of serious lung problems, said she wanted to talk to organisers about safety protocols after they said that some spectators would be in attendance.

After the French Open tournament director announced that all players will be housed in two designated hotels, Williams added that she had hoped she would be able to stay in her Paris apartment. When asked whether she would compete for a third title at Roland Garros, she answered: “Yeah, I mean, I’m definitely going to be going to Paris.”

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