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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Petrova Powers Past Zvonareva

APRussia's Nadia Petrova returning to compatriot Vera Zvonareva in Paris on Tuesday.
PARIS -- Nadia Petrova kept her nerve Tuesday to reach the semifinals of the women's singles at the French Open, winning an all-Russian duel with 22nd seed Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in 1 hour, 52 minutes after a battle royal on center court.

Zvonareva had beaten U.S. third seed Venus Williams in the previous round, while Petrova had ended the challenge of 2001 champion Jennifer Capriati -- but she needed to fight tooth and nail this time to see off a dogged rival.

"It's been a very hard match. I am so pleased with having won it," said Petrova, who turns 21 on Sunday -- the day after the final.

With national pride at stake, as well as a guaranteed 200,000 euros ($235,000) for reaching the final four, both players had every incentive to get off to a flier -- but it was Petrova, two years older than her rival, who found her game quickest, serving and volleying aggressively.

She duly steamed through the first set, winning it in 27 minutes when Zvonareva hit long in this the first ever quarterfinal battle here between two Russian players.

But Zvonareva, having been totally outhit to begin with, rallied at the start of the second against her fellow Muscovite, breaking in the opening game as she elected to mix up the pace, coupling some dazzling forehands with an occasional astute drop shot.

Petrova missed a break point at 3-4, but on her next opportunity and after a pulsating rally she fired over a monster of a drive, which Zvonareva barely got her racquet to.

However, the teenager then broke for 5-4 on her third set point, withstanding several of Petrova's forehands.

Serving for the set, she duly held.

As both women began to feel the pace the decider brought a welter of breaks -- six in a row.

Zvonareva broke for 3-2 but then immediately conceded the advantage once again by losing four points on a roll.

Petrova finally got her nose in front with a fourth ace taking her to 4-3.

And she then won an astonishing rally of some 30 bludgeoned strokes by both players to break with a barreling forehand as Zvonareva began to crack.

Petrova raced to 40-0 in the final game and, although Zvonareva saved the first match point with a thumping forehand after another endless rally that had the center court crowd gasping, she conceded when a powerful serve proved too much.

Petrova now meets Belgian second seed Kim Clijsters, who crunched Spanish 24th seed Conchita Martinez 6-2, 6-1 in just 68 minutes. In the other matches, Serena Williams slaughtered home hope Amelie Mauresmo 6-1, 6-2 and fourth seed Justine Henin-Hardenne swatted No. 8 seed Chanda Rubin 6-3, 6-2.