Mauresmo eyes French Open victory

With her second clay court title in as many weeks, Amelie Mauresmo will go to the French Open hoping she can be victorious at home.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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With her second clay court title in as many weeks, Amelie Mauresmo will go to the French Open in the kind of form she hopes can bring her a victory at home. After an impressive 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7/6) victory against Jennifer Capriati in the Italian Open final, Mauresmo was asked the inevitable question about whether she could succeed in the Paris tournament, which begins a week from today. "I hope, we'll see. Of course it gives you a lot of confidence to win these kind of matches, especially in the final," she said. Added to her confidence, Mauresmo will have a partisan crowd cheering her on at Roland Garros. The only other women to win the German and Italian Opens back-to-back were Steffi Graf (1987) and Monica Seles (1990), both of whom went on to win the French. Mauresmo relieved Mauresmo had been denied in the Rome final in three of the past four years, and was clearly relieved to have finally won the title. Having remained outwardly calm during most of the play yesterday, she sank to her knees with fists clenched in the air after winning her second match point. After two days of rest, Mauresmo will begin her training for Roland Garros. Before winning in Berlin, her season had been interrupted by a back injury that forced her to retire from the Australian Open. But now she looks to be on top form, while many of the other stars are sidelined. Injury problems Defending French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne has been out for five weeks with a virus, while fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters, a two-time runner-up in Paris, has already ruled herself out of this year's tournament with an injured left wrist. Serena Williams was the top seed in Rome, but looked rusty in her run to the semifinals, where she lost to Capriati 6-4 6-4. Her sister Venus was set to play Mauresmo in the final of the German Open but pulled out with an ankle injury. Despite losing to Mauresmo yesterday, Capriati is another player in good form. After suffering a 6-2 6-0 loss to the Mauresmo in the Berlin semifinals, she had a match point in yesterday's close-fought final. Capriati kept up a high level of play until the end, including some scintillating cross court forehands. As Mauresmo acknowledged, the match could have gone either way. "I felt that I still had some more energy left than she did, but it was a very intense match," Mauresmo said. "I was very satisfied with the level in this match and hanging in there till the end." Said Capriati, "the tennis I think just speaks for itself. I think I can just get better and better." (AP)