Rome: French Open champion Francesca Schiavone denied she was feeling the pressure of representing her country's hopes of success at the Rome International.
The second seed out-lasted Slovak Daniela Hantuchova in a two and a half hour third round marathon 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in front of a rapturous centre court crowd to reach the quarter finals.
The world number five was a shock winner at Roland Garros last year but has since risen steadily through the rankings, raching number four in January.
Given her ranking and her status as French Open champion, she should be considered one of the favourties here but Schiavone and Italians in general have a poor record in Rome.
She has never gone beyond the last eight and until this year hadn't even got that far since 2005.
In fact no Italian has so much as reached the final since Raffaella Reggi won in 1985.
"The responsibility doesn't weigh me down not least because the Roman fans give me great support," said the 30-year-old Schiavone.
"I'm particularly happy even though I didn't play such a great match. In any case, it makes you stronger when you win playing badly than when you win playing well."
"It's always very satisfying to win through in a great battle, especially when you're not in great form."
Schiavone next faces Australian Samantha Stosur, the sixth seed and the woman she beat in the Roland Garros final last year.
"(Friday) is a chance to play better, also because it would be difficult to play worse," added Schiavone.
"(Stosur) is a great athlete and always improving. The key against her is always the same, staying inside the baseline and pushing harder than she does."
"Whoever takes the initiative wins. I beat her both in Paris and in the Fed Cup but always in close encounters."