April 25, 2004
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Mauresmo Returns for Warsaw Title Defense
WARSAW, Poland - Amelie Mauresmo returns to WTA Tour action this week as she looks to defend her title as the top seed at the J & S Cup in Warsaw. Mauresmo, who scored two big victories over the weekend to lead France into the quarterfinals in Fed Cup play, will be playing in WTA Tour action for the first time since reaching the final at Amelia Island three weeks ago. Mauresmo, who fell to Lindsay Davenport in the championship match at the Bausch & Lomb Championship, suffered a lower back strain during the week and was forced to withdraw from a scheduled trip to Charleston the following week.
Last year, Mauresmo defeated Venus Williams in the Warsaw final when the American was forced to retire in the third set, handing Mauresmo her first title of the year. This year, Mauresmo is again looking for her first title and will face either Gisela Dulko or Eleni Daniilidou in the second round.
Williams, who suffered from an abdominal injury during that championship match with Mauresmo, returns to Warsaw looking to reach the final for the second straight year. Williams is one of the hottest players on clay right now, winning her first title of the year two weeks ago in Charleston and helping guide the United States to the quarterfinals in Fed Cup play with two victories on the clay in Slovenia.
Williams - the No.2 seed this week - could have a potentially tough second round opponent as she awaits the winner of Fabiola Zuluaga and Anabel Medina Garrigues. Zuluaga has five career clay court titles, including her fourth Bogota title she won earlier this year in her home country.
Memphis winner Vera Zvonareva, whose victory against Australia clinched the Fed Cup tie for Russia on Sunday, will look for her second title of the year and first on clay as the No.3 seed. Zvonareva is joined by Fed Cup teammate and No.4 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, who is a two-time finalist this year on the WTA Tour.
This is the ninth year of the J & S Cup, which began in 1995 with Barbara Paulus defeating Alexandra Fausai for the inaugural title. Paulus is one of two players to capture the Warsaw title on two separate occasions, also winning in 1997. Henrieta Nagyova is the only other multiple title winner, capturing the championship in 1996 and 2000. Other former champions include Conchita Martinez (1998), Cristina Torrens Valero (1999) and Elena Bovina (2002).