Tennis: Serena blasts past Errani to reach Paris semi-finals

Serena Williams returns to Italy's Sara Errani during their women's quarter final match of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on June 3, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Serena Williams returns to Italy's Sara Errani during their women's quarter final match of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on June 3, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - World No. 1 Serena Williams crushed Italian Sara Errani 6-1 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of the French Open in intimidating fashion on Wednesday.

The two-time Roland Garros champion set up a meeting with Swiss 23rd seed Timea Bacsinszky or Belgian Alison van Uytvanck.

American Williams hammered 39 winners in a one-sided encounter against the diminutive 17th seed Errani, a French Open runner-up in 2012.

"I knew I had to start better today than the other days because she's a tough opponent who's got history here," Williams told a courtside interviewer in French.

She had lost only two sets in eight victories from as many matches against Errani, but the Italian pushed her to the limit in their last encounter in the Fed Cup in April.

Williams had dropped the opening set in her previous three rounds but was quickly out of the blocks on Wednesday, setting the tone by breaking in Errani's first service game.

A brilliant backhand passing shot handed Errani an immediate break back but Williams was in the groove and dominated the rest of the opening set.

Errani upped her pace in the second as she looked quicker on her feet, but it was still not enough as Williams broke for a 4-3 lead and she finished it off on her fourth match point.