Schiavone, Murray Come Back at French Open; Federer Advances

Tennis Player Francesca Schiavone of Italy
Francesca Schiavone of Italy at the French Open on May 31. Photographer Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Defending champion Francesca Schiavone and Andy Murray both staged comebacks to advance at the French Open, as Roger Federer set up a semifinal with Novak Djokovic.

Italy’s Schiavone beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 to move into the semifinals on a cold and blustery day on the main Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros in Paris.

Pavlyuchenkova, at 19 the youngest woman left in the draw, was up a set and 4-1 when the 30-year-old Italian reduced her error count and found her range on the baseline. Schiavone will play No. 11 Marion Bartoli of France, who beat former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 to move to her first French Open semifinal.

“I am 6-1, 4-1 down, and I say, Francie, this is not the way to go,” fifth-seeded Schiavone told a news conference. “Keep going. I was really sad inside, but what can you do? Nobody can change things, just me. So I came back and I enjoyed a little bit more the end than the start.”

Britain’s Murray came back from a two-set deficit for the fifth time in his career to beat Viktor Troicki 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in a fourth-round match. Grand Slam record holder Federer of Switzerland moved to his sixth French Open semifinal by beating No. 9 Gael Monfils of France 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

“He is superb player, and he can be very dangerous,” Federer said of Monfils in a courtside interview. “The conditions weren’t easy; it was cold and there was a lot of wind.”

Lone Trophy

Federer, a former world No. 1 who won his lone Roland Garros trophy in 2009, will next play No. 2 Djokovic, the Australian Open champion from Serbia who’s won 43 straight matches since December.

The Swiss, seeded third for the first time in a major since Wimbledon 2003, handled the weather better than Monfils by hitting 41 winners to the Frenchman’s 24. Court Philippe Chatrier was sprayed with water after the second set to stop clay from being blown into the stands.

Federer, who last won a major at the 2010 Australian Open, has yet to drop a set in Paris this year. Although he leads Djokovic 13-9, he’s lost all three matches they’ve played this year.

No. 15 Troicki, from Serbia, was two points away from victory, leading 5-3, 30-30 in the final set, before fourth-seeded Murray came back to reach his second French quarterfinal.

Ankle Injury

“I was really close to winning this match and didn’t make it,” Troicki told a news conference. “I was just two points away on my serve, and he played it risky. Definitely one of the toughest losses in my career.”

The match resumed today after darkness halted play at 9:30 p.m. last night tied at two sets each. Murray had been doubtful for the match after injuring his ankle in the third round.

“Emotionally, it was pretty challenging,” Murray told reporters, adding he has a partial tear in one of the tendons in his ankle. “I was really nervous. But once I went behind, I loosened up a little bit and went for my shots.”

Murray reached his third Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in January, losing to Djokovic. He then struggled with his form and didn’t win a match on the ATP World Tour until April 13 in Monte Carlo.

Murray next plays No. 34 Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina, the only player left in the men’s draw from outside Europe. Murray leads that matchup 6-1.

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