Serena wary of Stosur, Russians set to `battle to death`

Paris: It was not quite the opponent she was expecting but Serena Williams will be the last person to under-estimate Australia`s Samantha Stosur when the two meet with a place in the French Open semi-finals at stake.

The script had the American world number one in a dream quarter-final with four-time champion Justine Henin but Aussie seventh seed Stosur had other ideas, seeing off the Belgian four-time champion in three sets and reaching the last eight for the second year in succession.

Williams broke hearts Down Under in January when she beat Stosur in the fourth round of the Australian Open, yet the 26-year-old from the Gold Coast, whom she faces on Wednesday, is a different proposition on clay.

"You can never underestimate anyone, and Sam is actually a wonderful claycourt player," Williams said after her fourth-round demolition of Israel`s Shahar Peer.

"I think she proved that last year, and this year I think she`s only lost twice on the clay. So she`s someone you can`t overlook. She has a good chance to go all the way."

There will be no secrets on show when seasoned Russians Elena Dementieva, 28, and Nadia Petrova, 27, square off in their quarter-final on Tuesday.

Between them they have 22 Roland Garros campaigns under their belts yet none of their previous 14 meetings, which they have shared, has been on the red Parisian dust.

"She has a lot of experience in the grand slams," Petrova said after claiming second seed Venus Williams` scalp in the fourth round.

"What can I say, when two Russians are playing each other, it`s like a battle to death. We really try to leave everything possible out there, win or lose."

Italy`s Francesca Schiavone is enjoying something of an Indian summer to her career, and is now looking forward to her second Roland Garros quarter-final nine years after her first.

She was battered in two sets by Martina Hingis in the last eight on her full draw bow in 2001, but her experience and guile will be among her biggest weapons when she faces Danish teenager and third seed Caroline Wozniacki on Tuesday.

"She`s a great player. She has already played one grand slam final (US Open), so I think I have to play my best tennis and concentrate."

Serbian Jelena Jankovic faces unheralded Kazakh Yaroslava Svedova, the world number 36, in the fourth quarter-final on Wednesday.

Bureau Report

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