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French Open: Serena Williams is driven on by pain as she closes in on Graf's record

By Eleanor Crooks

Serena Williams hopes her worst grand slam defeat can pave the way for her finally to equal Steffi Graf's Open era record of 22 titles.

The world number one reached yet another slam final with a 7-6 (9/7) 6-4 victory over Kiki Bertens at the French Open.

She won her 21st slam singles title at Wimbledon last year but since then has lost to Roberta Vinci in the semi-finals at the US Open and Angelique Kerber in the final of the Australian Open.

Her opponent today will be Spain's Garbine Muguruza, the same player Williams beat in the Wimbledon final 11 months ago.

But Muguruza also handed Williams her heaviest ever loss at a slam at Roland Garros two years ago, beating the great American 6-2 6-2 in the second round.

"I learned so much from that match," said Williams. "I hate to lose, but when I do, I hope it was worth it.

"That match was definitely one of those that was kind of needed and worth it."

If she is to beat fourth seed Muguruza this time, Williams will surely have to play better than she has in her last two matches.

Belfast Telegraph

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