Paris : Italy's Sara Errani defeated a second French Open champion in a row on Sunday in a dazzling run that reminds many of her compatriot Francesca Schiavone's fairytale win in 2010.
With Schiavone knocked out of the competition, the 24-year-old claycourt specialist from Bologna is keeping her country's hopes alive after beating 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-0, 7-5 in the fourth round.
This followed her 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over the 2008 winner, 13th seed Ana Ivanonic of Serbia.
"Now I have to keep my feet on the ground," Errani said in a post on her website after the Kuznetsova match.
"I won two good matches, but now I have to be just as good at staying focused and charged. I am very happy, but most of all I'm curious to find out to what level I can get. I honestly do not even know myself."
Errani, the 21st seed, will play 10th seed Angelique Kerber of Germany for a place in the semi-finals at Roland Garros.
"It's the best I've seen her play. Her ball is very good on clay," said Kuznetsova, who had a formidable 5-0 record against Errani prior to Sunday's encounter in cold, overcast conditions at Philippe Chatrier court.
Errani never made it past the first round in her first three appearances at Roland Garros from 2008 to 2010 and her only win had been against American Christina McHale last year.
The daughter of a fruit and vegetable seller and his pharmacist wife, Errani is, like Schiavone, one of the smaller players on the circuit at just 1.64m, but she is formidable on clay.
Errani has been the form player on the surface this year after winning tournaments in Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest, and her win over Kuznetsova raises her total for the year so far to 22-3 on clay.
She also reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in January on hardcourts.