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Serena Slams Mauresmo To Set Up Semifinal With Henin-Hardenne

Photo By Susan Mullane By Richard Pagliaro

The racquet bag slung over Serena Williams' shoulder wasn't the only baggage she carried on the court today for her Roland Garros quarterfinal clash with Amelie Mauresmo. The defending Roland Garros champion carried the memories of her last loss to Mauresmo earlier this month as well as the drive, desire and determination to eradicate the slightest possibility of the French woman scoring successive victories over her.

In the end, those qualities carried an intensely inspired Williams to a 6-1, 6-2 comprehensive conquest of the fifth-seeded Frenchwoman. The victory vaulted Williams into a semifinal showdown with Justine Henin-Hardenne where she will try to avenge her only other loss of the season — a straight-sets setback to Henin-Hardenne in the Family Circle Cup final. The fourth-seeded Belgian beat eighth-seeded Chanda Rubin, 6-3, 6-2, in her quarterfinal leaving Williams as the lone remaining American woman in the draw.

The only thing tougher than beating the world's top-ranked player is beating her twice in a row. Today, Mauresmo, who defeated Serena in the Rome semifinals, would have had a better chance trying to play leap frog over the Eiffel Tower than toppling Williams on the court.

Playing with passion and purpose, Williams's all-court attack overwhelmed a tight and timid Mauresmo. From the first point, it was clear that Williams was intent on imposing her will on the match and she ripped return winners almost at will in reducing Mauresmo to spectator status on her own serve.

Surrendering only 11 points to take the first set in 24 minutes, Williams completely quieted the partisan French crowd anxiously awaiting one moment in the match to erupt with a strong show of support for Mauresmo.

It never came.

A talented player who possess the skills to succeed on any surface, Mauresmo has been prone to periods of mental fragility in the past. Today, it wasn't just the magnitude of the moment that overcame Mauresmo, but the fact that Williams simply refused to allow her to have any say in the match.

If a tennis match is typically a dialogue of strokes between two people trying to make statements with their strings, this match was a declaration of dominance with only the changeovers serving as pauses between the punctuation of Williams' powerful statements.
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