Serena Williams wins French Open title
Serena Williams rose off here her sick bed to win her 20th grand slam title through a narrow 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2 defeat of Czech Lucie Safarova at the French Open on Saturday.
The men's final was also finally decided as Novak Djokovic concluded a difficult win over Andy Murray, advancing 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1 to into a showdown against fully-rested Stan Wawrinka.
Williams, who was down with influenza in the proceeding days and did not train on Friday, dragged herself onto court and struggled to her third title at Roland Garros after winning in 2002 and 2013.
The top seed led 4-1 in the second set and was then serving for the match at 6-5 but Safarova turned the momentum.
Unleashing a power game which left Williams reeling, the 28-year-old Czech put on a show in her first grand slam final singles, levelling at 4-4 and 6-6 as Williams paid for a series of double faults.
But after going up a break in the third to lead 2-0, Safarova's level dropped as Williams won the remaining games, serving out the win two games later after 2 hours 1 minute in the sun-drenched centre court.
The win gave Williams a 20-4 record in grand slam finals and puts her within two trophies of the all time Open era-best of 22 won by Steffi Graf.
She has now beaten Safarova in all nine of their meetings.
Djokovic, who spent more than four hours over two days in securing his place, will have to make a lightning recovery to be competitive on Sunday with the heavy-hitting Swiss who won the Australian Open in 2014.
Djokovic and Murray were halted the previous evening due to the threat of thunderstorms with the fourth set level at 3-3.
Djokovic won the first two sets but dropped the third as Murray began a surge. The Scot continued in that vein upon the Saturday resumption, taking the contest into a fifth set but losing serve twice in the deciding chapter.
"It was a really tough match, over four hours all together, yesterday and today," Djokovic said. "No different from any other match that we played against each other. It's always a thriller, always a marathon.
"I'm very glad that I managed to finish this match as a winner. I was hoping I can do it before, but, again, I don't think I have done too much wrong, even today in the fourth.
"He just came up with some great shots, great points.
"I think I will be fine for the finals. Whatever I have left in me I will put out on the court tomorrow, and hopefully it can be enough."
Djokovic will complete a career grand slam title sweep if he beats Wawrinka Sunday, with Roland Garros the only major missing from his trophy shelf. He has reached his 16th grand slam final overall.
Djokovic leads Wawrinka 17-3 and beat the Swiss in an Australian Open semi-final in 2015.
He has won his last 28 matches while Murray was beaten on clay for the first time this season after winning 15 in a row, and an eighth straight time overall by Djokovic since their 2013 Wimbledon final.
Murray was annoyed to lose after his poor fifth set but pleased with his fighting performance all the same, having squared the sets from two down.
"Obviously right now I'm upset, but, I would say I probably played my best tennis in the major events, in the slams. Also in the Masters Series I have been quite consistent in the ones that I have played," he said.
"I won probably more matches to this stage than I have any other year of my career. I don't know if that is the case, but that's what it feels like. That's been positive."