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Mighty Mauresmo

France's Amelie Mauresmo beat Serena Williams yesterday to secure her place in the final of the Italian Open

Kate Kirwan in Rome
Sunday May 18, 2003
The Observer

Amelie Mauresmo became only the second woman this year to beat Serena Williams, winning through to the final of the Italian Open with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory over the world number one. In doing so, Mauresmo gave hope both to those who crave an end to the unchallenged hegemony of the Williams sisters and to the rabidly patriotic French public, who will be desperately hoping Mauresmo can pull off a similar surprise when the French Open starts on Monday week.

'It's incredible that I beat her,' said Mauresmo afterwards. 'It gives me lots of confidence and lots of pleasure and many different emotions. I have been getting more and more confident lately and my game is in a good place. This is a big step forward for me, a real progression, not an accident or a fluke.'

The French public seldom needs much encouragement to support their own and the publicity machine has already been set in motion to promote Mauresmo's cause back home. A recent cover story in Paris Match magazine has grabbed the attention of her compatriots, not least because it features a topless Mauresmo, with her arms strategically placed across her chest.

In the accompanying interview, she talks extensively about her private life, her happiness with her new girlfriend and, for the first time, about the emotional trauma of being the homosexual child of homophobic parents.

It's all emotional stuff, and a sign that the growing confidence she is showing on the court may be the result of a growing confidence off it.

Even with positive press coverage, the notoriously fickle crowds at Roland Garros may take some convincing. Two years ago she came to the French Open in the form of her life and choked horribly in the first round, stifled by the expectation.

On yesterday's evidence, things may be different this time around, although for the first 20 minutes against Williams she did a passable and familiar impersonation of a rabbit caught in headlights. Even when her nerves had settled somewhat, and she was clearly outplaying Williams, she twice surrendered a break lead in the second set before finally putting her opponent away.

The cycle of successive breaks continued in the third set until 3-3 when Mauresmo, against the odds and seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly came into her own. For three games she looked like a French Open champion elect, erasing the memory of what had gone before.

Williams, as ever, was reluctant to heap praise on an opponent, especially one who is clearly a danger to the defence of her French Open crown. 'I still believe when I lose it has more to do with the way I play,' she said, a little churlishly. 'If I had continued to play the way I did in the first set I think I would have won. I didn't do a lot of stuff that I could have done a little better.'

Whatever Williams says, yesterday's win had more to do with the Frenchwoman. The question now is whether Mauresmo can replicate that sort of form in Paris, when it really matters.

Certainly, Williams will find the French the hardest of her four grand-slam titles to defend. Her heavyweight game is at its least effective on clay, the surface on which she suffered her only other defeat this year against Belgium's Justine Henin-Hardenne in Charleston, South Carolina, a month ago.

Mauresmo will play Kim Clijsters in today's final after the Belgian beat Ai Sugiyama 6-3 6-2. Clijsters' win ensures that she will be number-two seed at the French Open - and for the first time since Wimbledon last year the Williams sisters will not be seeded one and two at a grand slam.

This is yet another sign, perhaps, that their stranglehold on women's tennis may at last be beginning to loosen.
 

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With bullshyt articles like this, why in the hell should Serena give any credit? These biased idiots never give Serena any credit for playing her azz off in the first and second sets.
 

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Serena is saying the truth.. I still think she shouldn't give any credits to Amelie.. Amelie was a bitch to her when she defeated her in their last meetings, saying catty things on the interviews... so I don't see any reason why Serena should ever give her compliments..

Serena didn't play well, she did only during the first set.. And according to her, she would win the match if she kept the same rythym from the first set.. And she's not lying.. She would and very easily..
 

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thanks for posting the artcle starr. this is Amelie's moment. i'm glad she's enjoying it.
 

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Exactly! Why should Serena give Amelie credit when there was none? If the bullshit article and the people who posted it think otherwise, then they are in for more heartbreaking reality in the future. I thought they are smart enough to have learnt that when the sisters are down at one moment, they will be back even stronger. Unfortunately, some folks never learn.
 

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Yeah. She should enjoy it. Please enjoy it, Amelie. Party the night away!! (lol)

I was a little surprised to hear that she is topless on the cover of Paris Match.
 

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There's another article on her from the Times. It's before today's match. I'll post it too.
 

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Mauresmo lays bare her title credentials for all to see
From Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent in Rome



AMELIE MAURESMO is a striking presence on the cover of this week’s Paris Match. She leaves not much to the imagination, but the poses both on the front and inside this manifestation of glossy elegance are those of a confident young woman sure of herself and her status in the grand scheme of things.
To the images on the news-stands of France and beyond should be added a spectacular montage from the match she played here yesterday that placed the 23-year-old into serious contention not only for the Tennis Italia Masters title but those of greater consequence just around the corner.

From first to last, her quarter-final against Jennifer Capriati was characterised by glorious shots off the ground, the single-handed artistry of France against the more conventional double-handed slugging of the United States.

Mauresmo won 6-3, 7-6, on her fourth match point in an 18-minute tie-break of 22 points. It was her fourth sucessive win over Capriati and if this is the quality the women summon in the next few weeks, they can have all the equal prize-money they want.

The Frenchwoman deserved to reach the last four because of her refusal to compromise on the talents that first came to international recognition when she reached the final of the 1999 Australian Open and might have brought her at least one grand-slam title if she were not so emotional.

At Roland Garros she has consistently frozen, having never been beyond the fourth round in eight attempts. When she reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon and the US Open last year, she did not really believe that she could take one, perhaps two, extra steps.

A reprise of the way she handled Capriati should be used as inspiration for Mauresmo in the moments of self-doubt that are bound to crop up the bigger the matches become.

There were those who suggested yesterday that she did not play enough drop shots to disrupt Capriati’s occupation of the baseline. Mauresmo, fourth seed to the American’s fifth, was having none of it.

“I was feeling good in my own rhythm, I never do too many drop shots,” she said. “They are not my favourite thing. My goal was to try to be aggressive and try to go forward. I’m satisfied. I feel physically strong. Hopefully, it’s going to stay like this and I can work on my game without thinking about injuries.”

Mauresmo has had her fair share of those, enough to dilute anyone’s confidence. To watch one of the on-court sessions with her physical trainer before she even picks up a racket is an indication of how much effort she has put into honing body and, as a consequence, mind. She is blessed with a tremendous physique (as Paris Match demonstrates) and knows she has a great game. Can she finally put it all together?

Today’s test at the Foro Italico will be of the acidic variety. Mauresmo meets Serena Williams, the world No 1, who is not affected by nerves in the slightest. They have met five times — including that Wimbledon semi-final last year in which Mauresmo collected just three games — and Williams has won with increasing ease. On yesterday’s evidence, this one will be a lot closer.

Williams does not thrive against unorthodoxy. If there is a chink in her armour, it is when she is dragged out of her pounding routine by high bounces and low slices rather than the steady balls that she nudges back a lot harder than they have been nudged towards her.

Conchita Martínez, of Spain, is still queen of the moon-balls and Serena had to deal with a lot of stuff that might have put her neck out of joint. Still, it was a good-natured match, illustrated by one quickfire volleying exchange that had both players in mid-court wreathed in smiles. Williams had the last laugh, prevailing 7-5, 6-2.
 

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topless? :eek: i had no idea! go Amelie! strut your stuff! :)
 

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Thanks for the articles, starr! :D

*still speechless and in a state of total euphoria*
 

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I don't think it was a "bullshit article" at all, the writer made a lot of good sense. The notion that Serena shouldn't give credit to Mauresmo because Mauresmo was allegedly bitchy about her after previous defeats is ludicrous; players should make comments on the match they played, not withhold praise just because of the personality of their opponent. Still, I suppose that's women's tennis for you.
 

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Thanks for posting the articles, starr!!! :D :wavey:
 

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omg

omg how stupid, there are actually people here who hate this article????? An article that gives praise to a particular player and hope to the majority of the wta tour is not bullshit. Thank you for posting this article, its great. I aint even gonna mention about the giving credit thing because i've already posted it in another thread.
 

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Some people cannot handle it when Serena loses. We know this already. The fact is, Amelie was better on this day. Whether Serena thinks she played her best is irrelevant. She lost, and now Mauresmo knows she can beat her.
 

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I just find it annoying that people jump up and down whenever the Williamses lose.

Its really rediculous

did anyone do this when Monica lost? Martina lost? Steffi lost?

hmm i wonder
 

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yes, of course. Whenever there's a dominant number one player, their losses often make bigger news than their wins.
 
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