Tennis: From famine to Faust for dancing queen Petkovic

Andrea Petkovic reached her fourth Grand Slam quarter-final at the French Open on Monday and credited her love of philosophy and classic literature for helping her career.

The lanky 26-year-old, who moved from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Germany as a toddler, was pushed all the way by Dutch qualifier Kiki Bertens, ranked 148 in the world, before prevailing 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 in just over two hours.

The 26-year-old will now meet Jelena Jankovic, the Serbian sixth seed or Italian Sara Errani, ranked 10th, for a place in the semi-finals.

Petkovic, who came to Roland Garros last year ranked 136 but is now back at 27, failed to get through qualifying on her last trip to Paris, and has endured back, ankle and knee injuries which almost dropped her out of the top 200.

It was also a spell of form which pushed her to the brink of quitting last year.

However, now she is enjoying her finest season since 2011 when she reached the last eight in Australia, Paris and at the US Open.

When asked if she could go on and win her first Grand Slam, Petkovic refused to get ahead of herself.

"I think I would like to start talking about that once I reach the semis and finals, because quarters is nice, and I have reached four quarters, but I haven't gone further," she said.

"I think to really smell the victory of a Grand Slam I need to be getting further before I can talk about winning."

With her quarter-final set for Wednesday and with even rain forecast for the day, Petkovic should have time to renew her acquaintance with the likes of Goethe, Sartre and Camus.

"I have two favourite authors. One is Goethe, which is well, for me, the greatest genius with words," she said of the writer of classic work, Faust.

"Unfortunately, if you cannot speak German, it's not so easy to appreciate that."

She's also a fan of modern American author, David Foster Wallace whose signature novel, Infinite Jest was voted by Time magazine as one of the best novels of the 20th century.

"David Foster Wallace is the other one that I just started reading actually a couple of months ago and I'm totally amazed by him. I think he's one of the greatest.

"I actually really liked the existentialists in French. I read a lot of Sartre and Camus."

On court on Monday, Berten was broken at 5-5 in the third set as she failed in her bid to become the 10th qualifier to reach the quarter-finals.

Despite her joy at winning, there was no sign of the 'Petko', the German player's trademark dance routine which used to accompany every win.

"I just don't feel like dancing anymore. It was a bet in the beginning and I did it because I was happy after the matches," she said.

"But then it sort of got out of hand, because sometimes I played bad matches and I didn't feel like dancing. But people were coming just to see the dance. They were like, Andrea, dance, dance. Then I sort of did it to not disappoint the people.

"It wasn't a happy, spontaneous thing. It was something I needed to do somehow, and that was not what it was all about."