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DateLine Sunday, 3 June 2007





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Government Gazette

French Open heartbreak once more for Mauresmo

TENNIS: PARIS, June 2, 2007 (AFP) Amelie Mauresmo's hopes of finally winning her home Grand Slam tournament were left in tatters on Saturday when she lost 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) to Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in a third round tie.

Swiss player Roger Federer prepares a forehand shot to Italian player Potito Starace during their French Tennis Open third round match at Roland Garros, 01 June 2007 in Paris. Federer won 6-2, 6-3, 6-0. AFP.

It was the former world No.1's 13th attempt at winning at Roland Garros and once again she came up well short. Mauresmo has yet to make it past the quarter-finals.

The 27-year-old from the Paris suburbs came into the tournament desperately short of match practice having taken two months out to recover from an operation to remove her appendix.

Despite that she led 3-0 in both sets, but was incapable of maintaining her form allowing the 20-year-old Safarova to claw her way back on each occasion.

Mauresmo needed to take a medical time-out in the first set, but she seemed to be playing unhindered after that and it was simply that she was unable to reproduce the form that brought her the Wimbledon and Australian Open crowns last year.

She held firm until the tie-break but was was too tentative allowing the 25th seeded Safarova, who had also beaten her at the Australian Open in January, to dominate the rallies from the baseline.

From 3-3, the Czech player took total control winning four points in a row to go through to play Anna Chakvetadze of Russia, who defeated Japan's Ai Sugiyama 6-4, 6-4, for a place in the last eight.

"I am disappointed because in both sets I led 3-0, but just could not push home my advantage," Mauresmo said.

"My preparations for the tournament were not great and I had no great expectations going into it. There was no miracle."

US player Serena Williams hits a forehand shot to Michaella Krajicek during their French Tennis Open third round match at Roland Garros, 01 June 2007 in Paris. Williams won 6-3,6-4. AFP

Belgian player Justine Henin returns the ball to Italian player Mora Santangelo in the third round of the French Open Women’s singles. Henin who celebrated her 25th birthday, won 6-2, 6-3. AFP

Safarova said that she had felt nervous and "a little bit scared" at the start.

"But then I settled down and just started to play my game."

There were problems also for Russian glamour girl Maria Sharapova who looked ill at ease before seeing off the challenge of unheralded young compatriot Alla Kudryavtseva.

Sharapova won easily enough in the end 6-1, 6-4, but she had to come back from 1-4 down in the second set after her suspect serve once again let her down

The 20-year-old second seed had two months on the sidelines to recover from a severe bout of tendonitis in her right shoulder that required a cortisone injection and only returned to action at the Istanbul Cup last week.

She says the injury is still bothering her and it showed at times in a wobbly second set in which her serve was broken three times by her unheralded 19-year-old opponent. Sharapova broke back in the sixth game however and from there she re-discovered her timing and put the match away by winning five games in a row.

She next plays the experienced Patty Schnyder of Switzerland who struggled to beat Italian newcomer Karin Knapp 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 "I can't expect a lot from my shoulder this week," Sharapova said. "At times I still feel it during the match.

"I played a solid first set and then had a little bit of a let down and made a lot of unforced errors.

"I am happy the way I came back after that but it was also lousy as not a lot of people are going to allow me to get away with that." Also through to the last 16 in the bottom half of the draw were third seed and last year's beaten finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia and rising Serb seventh seed Ana Ivanovic.

German Open winner Ivanovic was a comfortable 6-2, 6-0 winner over Romania's Ioana Raluca Olaru and will next take on the winner of the tie between Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia or Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain. "I got a lot of confidence from Berlin, it helped me a lot," Ivanovic said.

"I have improved in the mental side of things in the last couple of weeks and months.



Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service

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