Tennis: Serena Williams one game from defeat in Paris before beating Sloane Stephens

US player Serena Williams celebrates after winning her match against fellow American Sloane Stephens during the women's fourth round of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on Monday (June 1). -- PHOTO: AFP 
US player Serena Williams celebrates after winning her match against fellow American Sloane Stephens during the women's fourth round of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on Monday (June 1). -- PHOTO: AFP 

PARIS (REUTERS) - Serena Williams continued to struggle through the French Open draw on Monday, huffing and puffing her way into the quarter-finals with a 1-6 7-5 6-3 win over fellow American Sloane Stephens.

Stephens broke serve three times in the opening set against the 2002 and 2013 champion.

Williams, the 19-times grand slam winner, broke serve twice in the second set to level.

Stephens then faded away as Williams broke for a 3-2 lead in the decider before finishing the match on Stephens' serve with a dipping crosscourt backhand winner.

She next faces 17th seed Sara Errani of Italy for a place in the semi-finals.

Williams, who hit 43 unforced errors, has had to work hard to make progress this year and labelled her performance unprofessional after defeating Germany's Anna-Lena Friedsam in the second round.

She also dropped the first set in the third round against former world number one Victoria Azarenka.