Schiavone doesn`t blame fatigue for tennis defeat

Melbourne: Superfit Italian Francesca Schiavone refused to blame fatigue for her narrow quarter-final loss to Caroline Wozniacki, despite playing for nearly five hours two days earlier.

Schiavone, who played the longest match in women`s Grand Slam history on Sunday, was up a set and a break at 3-1 in the second, before the world number one fought back to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The determined Schiavone saved three match points before pushing a backhand just wide to hand Denmark`s Wozniacki the match.

The reigning French Open champion was coming off Sunday`s marathon fourth-round match, when she beat Russia`s Kuznetsova in a record 4hr 44min, the third and final set alone lasting three hours.

However, the 30-year-old said she simply failed to take her chances against Wozniacki and dismissed suggestions tiredness played a big role.

"I had my chance anyway," she said. "Maybe in the third set I felt a little bit something physically, but it`s not an excuse.”

"I think I gave the best that I could do it."

Despite her heartbreaking loss, Schiavone was anything but devastated even though her quest for a second Grand Slam title had come to an end.

Her pain was eased by news she was set to reach a career-high ranking of world number four, the best ever achieved ever by an Italian woman. It`s also equal with the highest ever by an Italian male, Adriano Pannatta in 1976.

"I am happy," she said, with a clenched fish raised in triumph. "I worked hard to arrive here (fourth ranking), so I`m very happy, it`s fantastic. I want to keep going."

The veteran, who hit 41 winners to Wozniacki`s 14 but made 46 unforced errors to the Dane`s 15, said she was also enjoying her new-found celebrity as one of the players the fans love to watch.

"I`m happy for this," she said of her fan favourite status. "I`ve waited all my life, so now I`ll take it.”

"Last night I was walking and they said, `Francesca, you give me a lot of emotions, thank you, I hope you win tomorrow`.

"I think it`s something fantastic for me or any player."

Bureau Report