Serena Williams’ chest heaved between points. Her footwork wasn’t quite right. Miscue followed miscue, until she was a set and a break down in the French Open quarterfinals.
And as she so often does, Williams came through when she needed to Thursday, moving closer to a record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam title by figuring out a way to defeat Yulia Putintseva, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.
“I kept missing. Just misfiring. Honestly, at one point I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” the defending champion said. “I guess I was not the most positive mentally, but obviously I didn’t want to stop.”
How close was she to her earliest exit at a major...