2017 French Open Women’s Semifinals: How to Watch

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The 2017 French Open returns to NBC Sports on Thursday, with a clash between tournament darlings preceding a matchup of ranked contenders in the women’s semifinals at Roland Garros.

Timea Bacsinszky  faces off against Latvian teenager Jeļena Ostapenko in the first match of the day, before Karolína Plíšková battles Simona Halep in a meeting between the second- and third-ranked women in the field. Coverage begins at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app.

WATCH: 2017 French Open women’s semifinals (Thursday at 11 a.m. ET)

The match between Bacsinszky and Ostapenko is the culmination of an historic run in the tournament for both women, with the 30th-ranked Bacsinzky defeating Venus Williams in the fourth round. The unranked Ostapenko is competing in her first Grand Slam semifinal after taking down Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals.

In the second match of the day, Halep will look to return to the women’s final at Roland Garros, where she lost a three-set match to Maria Sharapova in 2014. Plíšková is also seeking redemption in a Grand Slam final after losing to Angelique Kerber at the US Open final in 2016.

Who: Timea Bacsinszky vs. Jeļena Ostapenko and Karolína Plíšková vs. Simona Halep

When: Thursday, 11 a.m. ET

Where: NBCSN and the NBC Sports app

John McEnroe: Serena Williams would be ranked ‘like 700’ on men’s tour

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LONDON — John McEnroe says Serena Williams would be “like 700” in the world tennis rankings if she played on the men’s tour.

McEnroe, speaking to NPR about his memoir “You Cannot Be Serious,” says Williams is the best female player ever, “no question.” But when asked about her being the best ever, without gender qualifiers, McEnroe was clear that he didn’t think so.

McEnroe says “if she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world.”

The former tennis bad boy added that he thought Williams could beat some male players, “but if she had to just play the circuit — the men’s circuit — that would be an entirely different story.”

McEnroe won seven Grand Slam titles in his career. Williams has won 23.

Federer beats Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-3 for 9th Halle title

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HALLE, Germany– Roger Federer defeated Germany’s Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-3 to win the Gerry Weber Open for a record ninth time on Sunday.

Playing in his 140th career final, Federer saved the only break point he faced and converted four of his eight opportunities to clinch his 92nd career title in 53 minutes. At 35, the Swiss player became the oldest winner of the grass-court tournament.

“I played unbelievably well. I felt good and never let up,” said Federer, who dropped just nine points on his serve. “It was my best game this week. Nearly everything worked out for me.”

Federer, who skipped the clay-court season after winning the Miami Open in early April, claimed his fourth title of the year, matching Rafael Nadal’s tally, and he will be seeded ahead of his Spanish rival for Wimbledon, which starts in eight days.

Federer had already won the Australian Open before titles in Indian Wells and Miami in 2017.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion was surprised by German veteran Tommy Haas on his return from the two-month break last week in Stuttgart but brushed off any doubts over his form in Halle.

Against the 20-year-old Zverev, who lost last year’s final to Florian Mayer, Federer raced to a 4-0 lead before wrapping up the first set in 22 minutes. Zverev created his only break chance in the opening game of the second, but ultimately was unable to show why he is regarded as one of the sport’s brightest prospects.

“You could have been a bit nicer and allowed me a couple more points,” Zverev joked to his idol.

Federer had words of affection for Zverev, who won their semifinal in Halle last year.

“He’s a very nice lad. I’m very happy for him, how he’s developed in the last years. The future belongs to him,” Federer said.