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The Williams Serve... UNEQUALED.
Tennis-Williams beats Mauresmo in Open warm-up
SYDNEY, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Fourth seed Serena Williams continued her build up to next week's Australian Open with a 6-4 7-6 quarter-final victory over France's Amelie Mauresmo at the Sydney International on Wednesday.
Despite the straight sets win, the powerful American said she had still not reached her best but was on target to peak at the first grand slam of the year.
"In my first match, I would have given myself two or three out of 10 but tonight was about four or five," Williams said.
"I'm definitely getting there. I just need a couple more matches and I'll be ready."
Williams, 20, is still searching for her second major win after taking the U.S. Open title in 1999 and believes her win over Mauresmo was a good omen for her chances of ending her drought in Melbourne.
Sixth seed Mauresmo, who won the Sydney title in 2000 and was a finalist at the Australian Open the year before, has a power game which is ideally suited to the hardcourts.
"I knew I was playing a good opponent and I had to play well," Williams said.
"She's nearly unbeatable on this court and I either had to show up or go home."
The pair traded early breaks in the first set before Williams broke again in the 10th game to snatch the early advantage.
Although the 22-year-old Mauresmo need treatment between the sets on her neck and shoulder, she soldiered on to force the set into a tiebreak.
She almost pushed the match into a deciding third set when she held set point only to be thwarted by Williams who produced two booming serves then claimed victory on her first match point.
"When I really need it, I can pull it out," Williams said.
Mauresmo said she had been unable to turn her head properly during the second set but expected to be fit for the Australian Open.
"She was better than me tonight...but I know my game is here," Mauresmo said.
"I just need to get some rest and treatment and I will be fine."
Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.