"Mauresmo makes her point in loss"
New York Post-Sept. 7, 2002
By Mark Hale
With Venus Williams leading Mauresmo with one set to none and up a second-set break at 3-2 yesterday, nobody would have blamed the fans at Arthur Ashe Stadium if they all made a rush for the concession stand.
For that matter, nobody would have blamed Mauresmo either.
"I knew I just had to hang in there," Mauresmo said. "Try to be more aggressive, come to the net alittle more. That's waht I did."
And with seemingly nothing to lose, Mauresmo started to win. In particular, she broke Williams, held serve herself and then borke again, taking three straight games to gain a shocking 5-3 lead. All of a sudden there was a match on center court.
Mauresmo won the set, 7-5, pumping her fist as she ran to her chair. And while Williams eventually wrapped up a hard-fought 6-3,5-7,6-4 victory, the 23-year old from France proved someting to everyone who figured that an all-Williams final was an absolute lock.
"She played very well," Venus Williams said of Mauresmo. "She was trying to retrieve balls and really take the game to me. I definately played a really good opponent today."
"I just wanted to go out there and play the game I wanted to play," the 10th-seeded Mauresmo said. "And I did."
Unfortunately, , she didn't convert break points. On a day when Williams' serve was anything but automatic, Mauresmo failed to take significant advantage. She attacked Wiliams' second serves with abandon but could only manage to convert 4 of her 13 break chances.
Against the two-time defending champion, that's simply not enough.
For now, chalk it up to experience. Willimas, who has reached the Open semifinals in each of the six years she has played, has it. Mauresmo does not.
"She's played dozens of matches like this," Mauresmo said. I need to be in that position more often."
It also didn't help that they were several questionable calls that went Williams' way down the stretch. While Mauresmo wasn't about to blame the result on the linesmen, she wasn't about to invite them out to dinner either.
"You feel the ball is in and the guy says out, " she said before turning to sarcasm. "It feels great, you know? It's not a big point at all. You know, perfect."
Still, even tough officiatin couldn't dim Mauresmo' tournament. Agains a popular American, it was Mauresmo who was the crown favorite yesterday. And even with the loss, her win on Wednesday agains Jennifer Capriati ensured that for the fourth straight year, she improved her Open finish each year by one round.
And you know what that means for next year.