Francesca Schiavone. 2010 French Open Champion. Fed Cup warrior. One-hander. Sometime serve and volley-er. Scrambler. Fighter. Thinker. True original.
Two days ago, she won the longest Major women’s match in Open Era history. Today, she made World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki pout – at least during the first set and a half. Alas, the valiant Francesca couldn’t hold onto the lead, going out 6-3, 3-6, 3-6 after almost two and a half hours of battle.
Yet even as she walked out of Rod Laver Arena in defeat, she was cheered like a champion:
Forza Francesca Forever!
And yes, she’s still looking to do more (via her post-match presser):
Q. Are you proud of what you’ve achieved here over the last ten days, or is it still a little bit disappointing at the moment?
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: A little bit disappointed. It’s normal. I think I am a tennis player, and I want to have always something more, particularly when I have a chance. I want to catch it. Maybe today I didn’t do it.
But for the rest I am positive. I think I have good chance to keep going, improving, and take other really good results, I think. I don’t know if you see.
Q. What is her tennis?
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: That I have the chance to win. I have quality to do it. So it’s hurt, but in the same times, it’s good, because I have I don’t die tomorrow, so I will have other chance. I hope. (Laughter.)
Q. Do you feel now that people will regard you as a threat on hardcourts much more than they did before?
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: Si, si. I think the player feel the pressure because I keep going to change everything on the court, speed and angle.
So they feel that I can do very well, and the people now start to know that I can play really good on hardcourt. I feel the same, so…
Will be tough for everyone.
Q. No.4 in the world after this; you’re smiling. You’re obviously pretty happy with that.
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: Well, yes, I am happy. I worked hard to arrive here, so I’m very happy. I want to keep going. (Smiling.)
Q. For the English speaking world, your next goal is to become No. 3 or No. 1?
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: Oh, step by step. I never fly, so one step. I have ten years more.
Okay, fine, a couple more from Frankie:
Q. Do you think they should consider having tiebreakers in the third set at the Australian Open?
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: No. No. I think was a great match. I think we can do it not every day but, no. If this is the rule, it’s okay. We are strong, the woman are strong (smiling.)
Q. You’re quickly gaining the reputation of being someone who plays matches and the fans tune in to see and get very excited about. Do you get a sense that you’re fast becoming a fan favorite and the fans really like watching you play?
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: I’m happy for this. I wait for a life, so now I take. Last night I was walking and they say, Francesca, you give me a lot of motions. Thank you. I hope you win tomorrow. I think it’s something fantastic inside of me or another player.
So I have just to say thanks to them.
Woz got the last roar, but will she get the last laugh?
This match was a major wake up call for the sunny Dane – there’s no monkeying around during the business end of a Major, girly.
Looking serious – Li Na continues to impress with her
She certainly made an impression on her opponent:
Q. Your first Grand Slam quarterfinal. What was the experience like?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: Well, I certainly didn’t play as well as the last matches, but it was a nice experience. I really enjoyed every minute of it. I think she played really well. I think she’s going to win the tournament.
Q. Why are you so confident about Li Na?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: You know, I haven’t seen the other players. It’s more a feeling. It’s nothing that I can tell you her forehand is good or her backhand. It’s just the feeling, how she is on court, her confidence and the way she’s playing. I just feel she has a great chance to win the tournament.
I don’t want to put pressure on her obviously. It’s just a feeling. Sometimes you get the feeling during the match that somebody is really strong and just has that confidence going on, that aura maybe. Is this a word in English? Okay.
Kim Clijsters plays Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova plays Vera Zvonareva on Wednesday in the second set of quarterfinals.