Petrova advances to French Open semifinals

Nadia Petrova advanced to the French Open semifinals for the second time, beating 17-year-old Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 6-2 Tuesday.

Petrova also reached the final four in 2003 before losing to Kim Clijsters. The 22-year-old Russian is seeded seventh but has yet to win a WTA Tour title.

Advancing in 64 minutes, Petrova has lost just 33 games and one set in her five matches. Ivanovic, seeded 29th, hit just 10 winners and had 33 unforced errors.

One delay for booing and another for rain failed to deter Rafael Nadal, who remained on schedule for a possible semifinal showdown against top-ranked Roger Federer.

The 18-year-old Nadal extended his winning streak to 21 matches with a fourth-round, two-day victory over Sebastien Grosjean of France, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3. Jeers halted play for 10 minutes Sunday, and showers forced an overnight postponement in the third set before Nadal closed out the win Monday.

Nadal's most recent loss came two months ago, when Federer dropped the first two sets and trailed 4-1 in the third before he rallied to beat the youngster in the Key Biscayne final. The rematch could come Friday _ Nadal's 19th birthday.

Playing at Roland Garros for the first time, the precocious Spaniard discovered during his latest victory how noisy French fans can be. They began hooting in the second set when a linesman ruled a shot by Nadal on the line, helping him win the point for a 1-0 lead.

Damien Steiner refused to climb down from the umpire's chair to check the mark, and Grosjean became incensed. The jeers subsided only when the Frenchman made a gesture appealing for quiet.

"The crowd yesterday didn't really behave as they maybe should behave when watching a match," Nadal said. "But this is France, it's not Spain. I've never seen anything like that in Spain, that's for sure. It was just a really silly thing."

Nadal conceded that he was momentarily rattled by the scene, allowing the second set to slip away.

"I'm saying, `Don't be stupid. Don't lose your focus. Get on with your job. You're winning,"' he said. "But it's not easy, because you miss your first serve, everybody starts cheering. You make a mistake, and again people start shouting. It was difficult."

When play resumed Monday before a different audience, but the same umpire, Nadal won nine of the final 12 games.

"Today the crowd was much more respectful," he said, "so that was better."

Three other title contenders were eliminated _ defending champion Gaston Gaudio, 2004 runner-up Guillermo Coria and Australian Open champion Marat Safin.

Gaudio blew a 4-0 lead in the final set and lost to David Ferrer 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-4. The elimination of Gaudio ensured that the winner of the men's title will be a first-time Roland Garros champion.

Coria was beaten by No. 12 Nikolay Davydenko 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1), 6-2. Davydenko's opponent in the quarterfinals Wednesday will be No. 15 Tommy Robredo, who beat the third-seeded Safin 7-5, 1-6, 6-1, 4-6, 8-6.

Safin threw a brief tantrum in the third set, leaving a hole in the base of his wooden changeover chair when he smashed it with a racket. He eventually regained his composure but committed 73 unforced errors and lost in 3 hours, 50 minutes.

"I destroyed the chair, I destroyed the racket because I can't take it any more," Safin said. "I had to relieve everything I had inside just to continue fighting."

The other quarterfinal Wednesday will be an all-Argentine matchup between unseeded Mariano Puerta and No. 9 Guillermo Canas.

Winners in women's play included teenager Maria Sharapova. The second-seeded Sharapova, 18, completed a match suspended overnight because of rain, beating Nuria Llagostera Vives 6-2, 6-3.

Justine Henin-Hardenne played for 3 hours, 15 minutes and overcame two match points to beat U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-5.

STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer

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