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Mauresmo Hampered by Injury
Mauresmo has injury worries
January 24, 2005 - 5:19PM
French tennis star Amelie Mauresmo is facing a race against time to be fit for her Australian Open showdown with American Serena Williams on Tuesday.
Mauresmo, the second seed, suffered a flare-up of a groin strain after her fourth round match against Russian Evgenia Linetskaya on Sunday.
The on-going problem could severely hamper her bid for a semi-final place and the chance to improve on her shabby 1-8 win-loss record with Williams.
She took an injury time-out during her fourth round match to have her upper thigh taped as a preventative measure.
Mauresmo, the 25-year-old based in Geneva, reached the Australian Open final in 1999 where she lost to Martina Hingis.
Now trying to replicate that effort, she is puzzled by the on again-off again injury which refuses to heal.
"I don't know, because I'm working on it every day," Mauresmo said.
"I'm trying to do my best with my physio to make sure everything is right, but you know, that's the way it is.
"As long as it doesn't bother me more than this it's okay."
The French star's only win over Williams was on clay at the Italian Open in 2003 in a tough, strung-out three setter and she knows she needs all her fitness and more on Tuesday.
"I don't have a very good record against her but I play tennis for these kind of big matches, so I'm looking forward to this one," she said.
"The surface is good for my game and the environment is good for me here, so we'll see how it goes."
Mauresmo has the feeling she will somehow automatically rise to the occasion, while knowing she needs to step up a gear.
"I would say when you get into a tournament you just play better and better," she said.
"I know that it's going to keep going higher and higher so I'm not worried about that."
A glance at the record shows why Williams happily describes her encounters with Mauresmo as "fun."
"I expect her to play very good and better. I expect her to come out and perform extremely well, like she normally does," Williams said.
"But, you know, I really like playing her. I mean, it's really fun tennis. We have a good time out there."
Well, one of them seems to anyway.
Williams' only concern is her serve.
"I'm practising really hard, I never usually practise this hard," she said.
"Hopefully it will come together tomorrow.
"I feel my serve was horrible, I've been working really hard on it - it's just, I'm a perfectionist...but I guess I'll have to get over it and play better in the next round."
In Tuesday's other quarter-final, Russian stars Maria Sharapova, the Wimbledon champion, faces Svetlana Kuznetsova, the US Open champion.
Kuznetsova leads their head-to-head clashes 2-1 but Sharapova won the last meeting - a 6-1 6-4 victory in the Tour Championship last year.
Kuznetsova describes the upcoming contest as "interesting" while Sharapova says the whole situation is "exciting."
"I'm excited, I know it's going to be another tough match but I'm prepared," Sharapova said.
"We played each other end of last year - you're going to expect great things from her.
"You know, I'm just excited to be in the quarters. I'm going to go out like I've been going out and playing my game, having fun, enjoying it and fighting to win," she said.
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