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Italians Sara Errani, Roberta Vinci to meet in quarterfinal

Italy's Sara Errani returns a shot to Germany's

Italy's Sara Errani returns a shot to Germany's Angelique Kerber in the fourth round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournamen in New York. (Sept. 3, 2012) Credit: AP

Italian women continue to make inroads into tennis, and Monday, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci went deeper than they ever have at the U.S. Open.

Errani, the 10th seed, beat No. 6 seed Angelique Kerber, 7-6 (5), 6-3. Then Vinci, the 20th seed, surprised No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-1, 6-4.

In 2009, Flavia Pennetta, a three-time Open quarterfinalist, became the first Italian woman to make it into the top 10 in the world rankings. In 2010, Francesca Schiavone became the first Italian woman to win a major singles title, at the French Open. Now either Errani or Vinci will become the first Italian woman to make the U.S. Open semifinals when they face each other Wednesday.

In her 12th season of trying, the 29-year-old Vinci made the first quarterfinal of her Grand Slam career. "First quarterfinal against Sara, I am happy to play against her. For sure an Italian goes to the semifinal," Vinci said. "She's my best friend, so I'm very happy to play against her."

Vinci employed a full-court game, running Radwanska from side to side and baseline to net. "She's really playing very uncomfortable tennis to play," Radwanska said.

"I have a difficult style of tennis, for sure," Vinci said. "I mix a lot of balls. I go to the net. I play a lot of slice. So she probably doesn't like my slice."

Errani seemed to beat Kerber at her own game: court coverage. Kerber runs down almost everything, and on Monday, Errani ran down almost everything Kerber sent back over the net.

Errani has won four tournaments this year, crediting a change to a longer, heavier racket as the key.

"This year with this racket made me feel different on the court and make me feel much better," Errani said. "This is the best year of my life, for sure."

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