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Schiavone shocks Wozniacki

No. 3 seed ousted in straight sets

By Steven Wine
Associated Press / June 2, 2010

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PARIS — After Francesca Schiavone became the first Italian woman to reach the French Open semifinals since 1954, she collapsed face down on center court and kissed the clay.

Schiavone upset No. 3-seeded Caroline Wozniacki in yesterday’s quarterfinals, 6-2, 6-3. Seeded 17th, Schiavone is the first Italian woman to reach the semifinals at any Grand Slam tournament in the Open era, which began in 1968.

“It’s an honor for me to play here,’’ she said. “I played really well. I’m enjoying it so much.’’

Schiavone’s opponent tomorrow will be No. 5-seeded Elena Dementieva, who rallied past fellow Russian Nadia Petrova, 2-6, 6-2, 6-0. The showing is Dementieva’s best at Roland Garros since 2004, when she was runner-up.

Schiavone, 29, had been 0-3 in major quarterfinals and hadn’t reached the final eight at Roland Garros since 2001. This time she made the most of her chance.

Schiavone won with steady, sometimes looping groundstrokes, limiting errors while mixing the pace to keep Wozniacki off-balance. Rallies sometimes became moonball exchanges reminiscent of the wooden-racket era.

Schiavone played serve and volley to win the next-to-last point. After she slammed an overhead winner on her final shot, she leaped, raised her arms with a scream and lifted her racket over her head in jubilation.

Then she kissed the clay. She improved to 8-40 against players ranked in the top five.

Schiavone broke serve six times, won 13 of 16 points when she reached the net and enjoyed a 25-10 edge in winners.

Wozniacki, at 19, was the tournament’s youngest quarterfinalist. She was playing in her second Grand Slam quarterfinal after reaching the US Open final last year.

The quarterfinals began on a cool, damp afternoon with occasional rain that had some spectators watching from under umbrellas. Dementieva pulled away by hitting 11 winners in the third set, while Petrova won only 12 points.

In the final two sets, Dementieva lost only 10 points on her serve — three because of double-faults.

Petrova appeared hampered at times by a sore left thigh, which she had rewrapped midway through the first set. Dementieva also received treatment during the 17-minute break, when a trainer taped her right thigh.

Petrova, seeded 19th, upset No. 2 Venus Williams in the fourth round. But the Russian has now lost her past five matches against Dementieva.

In the quarterfinals today, No. 1 Serena Williams will play No. 7 Sam Stosur, fresh off an upset over four-time champion Justine Henin, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4. That ended Henin’s streak of 24 consecutive victories at Roland Garros since her most recent defeat in 2004.

Williams beat No. 18 Shahar Peer, 6-2, 6-2.

No. 4 Jelena Jankovic will face unseeded Yaroslava Shvedova. Jankovic defeated No. 23 Daniela Hantuchova, 6-4, 6-2, and Shvedova became a Grand Slam quarterfinalist for the first time by beating wild card Jarmila Groth, 6-4, 6-3.

On the men’s side, No. 15 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic advanced to his first Grand Slam semifinal by beating No. 11 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia,6-3, 6-1, 6-2. In today’s men’s quarterfinals, Rafael Nadal meets No. 19 Nicolas Almagro of Spain, and No. 3 Novak Djokovic of Serbia faces No. 22 Jurgen Melzer of Austria.

It took Melzer 32 Grand Slam tournaments over an 11-year span to reach a quarterfinal, and he made it Monday. Following the advice of good friend Andy Roddick, Melzer beat qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili in the fourth round, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

At 29, Melzer’s the oldest man in the final eight.

“To be the oldest player is not a special feeling,’’ he said. “Reaching the quarterfinals for the first time, that’s a special feeling.’’

Nadal, who lost in the fourth round in 2009, has yet to drop a set in this year’s tournament.

“Do you want me to jump and shout?’’ Nadal said in Spanish. “I’ll start jumping when I’ve won the tournament.’’