Richard Gasquet and Flavia Pennetta qualified for their first career Grand Slam semifinal Wednesday afternoon.
No. 8 Richard Gasquet took down No. 4 David Ferrer in an epic five-set match, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3. Gasquet had only made one previous Grand Slam quarterfinal in his entire career despite his No. 8 ATP world ranking. He has earned a reputation for emotional meltdowns and a lack of intensity, but he showed uncharacteristic fortitude in holding off Ferrer. No player in tennis, perhaps with the exception of Lleyton Hewitt, battles quite like Ferrer, and the Spaniard made Gasquet earn every point from the third set.
In the win, Gasquet showed why he has always frustrated tennis experts. His one-handed backhand produced 26 winners alone, and the lank Frenchman had terrific court coverage. While losing the third and fourth sets, he displayed some puzzling decision-making -- another Gasquet hallmark -- trying dropshots from the baseline and approaching in unfavorable situations. Ferrer, who rarely makes tactical mistakes, was happy to take advantage.
Gasquet will face the winner of Rafael Nadal vs. Tommy Robredo (probably Nadal, Robredo has never beaten him) for the chance to go to his first Slam final.
Pennetta is an even more surprising semifinalist. The 31-year-old, unseeded Italian made quick work of her compatriot, No. 10 Roberta Vinci, 6-4, 6-1. Pennetta was stronger and more error-free than Vinci, making 17 errors to Vinci's 28, and was ready for Vinci's crafty game.
Pennetta will face the winner of Victoria Azarenka vs. Daniela Hantuchova, two big-time power hitters who could give Pennetta all types of problems. It's far too late to start counting her out in any match, however.