Vol. 5 Num 263 Tue. February 22, 2005  

Mauresmo shoots Venus down

France's top seed Amelie Mauresmo won the 585,000-dollar WTA tournament here on Sunday after beating Venus Williams in the final.

Mauresmo beat the American third seed 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, just one week after losing to Russia's Dinara Safina in the Paris final, for her first victory of the season.

"This was a great final for a great tournament," said Mauresmo.

"I am so happy because the quality of my game went up and up during the whole week until the final."

Mauresmo now heads for Doha next week where she is top seed while Williams plays in Dubai the week after.

"I was ready for victory," said Williams who won here in 2002 and 2003.

"It is very frustrating because I wanted to win this trophy for a third time. But Amelie played well, especially with her volley."

"I felt 100 per cent at the start of the final but then I began to feel pain in my stomach."

Mauresmo's superb volleying in the final set made the difference as she claimed victory on her fifth match point after two hours and 18 minutes to deny the American what would have been a third title here.

It was also the Frenchwoman's fourth win over Williams in nine career meetings.

However, she had to overcome an unconvincing start to the final dropping her first service game and surrendering the first set in half an hour.

Williams sensed an opportunity and broke again to lead 4-2 in the second set and then led 5-3 to serve for the match.

Mauresmo, so often shackled by nerves on the big occasion, dug deep and she reeled off the next four games to take the second set 7-5 and level the match at one set-all.

In the crucial tenth game, Mauresmo squandered a number of match points but won the final on her fifth chance.