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Sara Errani digs the French Open

PARIS -- On Monday, three American women lost their fourth-round matches. Tuesday, though, was a pretty good day to be an American.

Not only did Serena Williams advance -- after stopping to smell the roses outside Court Suzanne Lenglen for a set or so -- to her first semifinal in a decade here, but a number of her compatriots stayed alive in their respective draws.

Take Bob and Mike Bryan, for instance. The brothers won all five points in the first seven minutes of their match against Christopher Kas and Oliver Marach when the German-Austrian duo abruptly retired.

How's that for Euros from heaven? Next up: No. 8 seeds David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals.

No. 11 seed Taylor Townsend, the top junior in the world a year ago and a 17-year-old Boca Raton, Fla., resident, defeated Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico 6-2, 6-3.

Louisa Chirico, 17, of Morristown, N.J., beat Maria Marfutina of Russia 7-6 (9), 6-2.

Noah Rubin, a 17-year-old protégé of John McEnroe who hails from Long Island, took down Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-1, 6-4.

Even in defeat, Jamie Loeb of Ossining, N.Y., was impressive, challenging the tournament's No. 1 seed, Ana Konjuh of Croatia 5-7, 4-6.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who lost in the fourth round of the singles draw, exited the doubles competition with partner Sania Mirza. They retired after trailing Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova 6-7 (0), 3-5.

Stefan Kozlov, 15, from Florida, fell to No. 6 seed Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Radwanska is French toast

There is something about the French Open that agrees with Sara Errani.

The fiery 26-year-old Italian has been to the semifinals in three of the past five Grand Slams -- and two of them have been at Roland Garros.

On Tuesday, despite carrying a 1-6 head-to-head record against No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, Errani, seeded fifth, prevailed 6-4, 7-6 (6) in a tight match on Court Philippe Chatrier that required 1 hour, 51 minutes.

It was Errani's first victory over Radwanska in seven years. Radwanska is now a not-to-be-envied 1-7 in Grand Slam singles quarterfinals. But more amazingly, this was Errani's first win over a top-five player in 29 career matches.

Errani will play the top-seeded Williams, who was a three-set winner over Svetlana Kuznetsova -- in Thursday's semifinals. A year ago, she lost to Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

Afterward, Radwanska didn't seem overly upset; this was her first quarterfinal berth here in seven tries.

"She was playing very solid tennis today and didn't miss much," Radwanska said. "Every point I really have to win myself. I was really trying to play aggressive and play not in the one spot, going down the lines. It was the key.

"But she's [a] very good runner, as well. And playing from the defensive side also, good shots from her. Definitely, clay court, it's her surface."

Regarding her match with Williams, Errani was hopeful the slow surface might give her a chance.

"Yeah, it's for sure very difficult because she's very strong," Errani said. "Physically she's [an] incredible athlete, so it is not easy to play against her for this because she has a lot of power.

"So it will be tough, but maybe on clay is a bit better than the other surface."

A win for the machine

No. 4 seed David Ferrer and No. 32 Tommy Robredo had met in eight previous matches (seven on clay), but never in a Grand Slam.

The battle of the 31-year-old Spaniards never really materialized, though. Ferrer obliterated Robredo 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 to advance to the semifinals, where he'll meet not Roger Federer, but Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Ferrer made his first semifinal here last year, after a decade of trying. Now, he's 2-for-2.

The quick match -- and the fact that he's won all 15 of his sets here -- is a plus, because the same is true of Tsonga.

"Yes, it's very helpful," Ferrer said. "When you're in good shape, you feel good, you can be totally motivated, you have this will to play, you're ready to play for five hours, for five sets.

"In a Grand Slam, that's very important. When you reach the last rounds -- all players will tell you the same thing -- you have to be in a very good shape."

Robredo is also in fantastic shape, but came in playing three consecutive five-set matches, escaping from 2-0 holes in all of them.

"I wasn't 100 percent ready to fight that match," he said afterward. "And playing with a guy like David who is a machine, it's very tough to be like that. So there was no match today.

"Certainly before the match I was a bit tired, but I thought I could recover, that I could run. But I just realized that I was always late when I was defending. I was always running. There is nothing else to say."