Paris:Francesca Schiavone became the first Italian woman to reach the French Open semifinals since 1954 by beating No. 3-seeded Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old Schiavone collapsed face-down on center court and kissed the clay after sealing a 6-2, 6-3 win in her third major quarterfinals appearance.
She had not reached the last eight at Roland Garros since 2001. This time she made the most of her chance and became the first Italian woman to make it into 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."
The 17th-seeded Schiavone won with steady, sometimes loopy 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 and then slammed an overhead winner to clinch victory.
Her opponent Thursday will be the winner of Tuesday's all-Russian quarterfinal between No. 5-seeded Elena Dementieva and No. 19 Nadia Petrova.
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 U.S. Open final last year.