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US Open notes: Italian women enjoying renaissance

NEW YORK — Italian tennis fans can count on a celebration almost every day at the US Open. The women from Italy have once again infiltrated a Grand Slam draw, and for the second straight year, at least one is guaranteed a spot in the semifinals.

Flavia Pennetta defeated Simona Halep, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), on Monday to set up an all-Italian quarterfinal against her friend, 10th-seeded Roberta Vinci, who beat Italian Camilia Giorgi, 6-4, 6-2.

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‘‘It’s going to be nice for us because one of us is going to have the chance to be in the semifinal,’’ Pennetta said. ‘‘In the other way, it’s always not easy to play with your friend.’’

Nobody’s dealing with that feeling more these days than Vinci. Her match against Pennetta, a showdown between 30-somethings who have known each other since they were 8, will be her third straight match against another Italian.

Pennetta, meanwhile, knocked out fourth-seeded Sara Errani of Italy in the second round, 6-3, 6-1.

Pennetta is in the US Open quarters for the fourth time. But this one is sweet, because she missed last year’s tournament with a right wrist injury that explains why her ranking has slipped to 83d.

‘‘Was not easy, I can tell you,’’ Pennetta said of coming back from surgery. ‘‘I cry a lot, yeah. But I love this sport.’’

Giorgi, a 21-year-old who is ranked 136th, made a surprise visit into the second week by knocking off No. 6 Caroline Wozniacki on her way to the fourth round.

‘‘I always thought I could do it, reach this level,’’ Giorgi said. ‘‘So it’s not like the victory over Wozniacki surprised me. I had been waiting for that.’’

Four years ago, Vinci played the role of the underdog, while Pennetta was at the head of the Italian tennis renaissance — the first woman from that country to reach the top 10. She had partnered in doubles with the up-and-coming Vinci.

Weathering the changes

An afternoon of heavy rain forced shifts in the schedule, including the postponement of Victoria Azarenka’s match against Ana Ivanovic until Tuesday. Azarenka or Ivanovic will wind up facing Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who got past American wild-card entry Alison Riske, a 23-year-old who grew up in Pittsburgh, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 . . . On Court 17, eighth-seeded Richard Gasquet, who entered the day 1-15 in fourth-round Grand Slam matches, erased a match point and withstood 39 aces from No. 10 Milos Raonic to win, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 7-6 (11-9), 7-5. Gasquet will meet No. 4 David Ferrer in the quarterfinals after the Spaniard beat No. 18 Janko Tipsarevic, 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) . . . Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have met in four finals at the French Open, three at Wimbledon, and one at the Australian Open, but they've never met in any round at the US Open.

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