Paris: Some feel joy, others experience relief. Francesca Schiavone said she felt something completely different the moment she reached her first grand slam semi-final at the French Open.
"Heart attack", was the succinct response from the 29-year-old after she upset Danish third seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-3 to become the first Italian woman in the Open Era to make the last four of a grand-slam singles event.
"I think in that moment you remember many things from when you were young," she told reporters. "It is special because it is your space, your time, your opportunity.”
"I felt alone, but with all the love around me. It`s like if I ask you, `How did you feel when you married?` you say, it`s not easy to explain."
Nine years after reaching the Roland Garros quarter-finals on her first appearance here, Schiavone`s mix of athleticism and claycourt nous was too much for Wozniacki, who at 19 was the youngest of the quarter-finalists.
The Dane tried to hit through Schiavone and was guilty of too many unforced errors, playing into the hands of the wily Italian who wrapped up victory with a superb overhead smash in 80 minutes, setting up a semi-final against Russian fifth seed Elena Dementieva.
"I think I played very consistent and I didn`t give her many chances to let her play easy," Schiavone said. "So I kept going to play long and sometimes short and tried to come to the net. It was a good mix to win this match."
Having lost her previous three grand slam quarter-finals, Schiavone`s joy at reaching the last four was all the greater, even if she said it would take time for the significance of her achievement to sink in.
"Maybe in this moment I can`t say many words," she said. "I am 29 years old, I do this job for (my whole) life, maybe I don`t understand really what it is now.”
"But many people already told me that it`s something different, big, and special. So maybe in some years I will tell you how I could feel today."
Wozniacki, who was playing in her first French Open quarter-final but who reached last year`s US Open final, said she had simply been outplayed by the 17th seed.
"I was always one-step behind and couldn`t really dominate the way I wanted to," the Dane said.