DOHA, Qatar -- Amelie Mauresmo pummelled Martina
Hingis 6-2, 6-2 on Friday to reach the Qatar Open final and move
within one victory of the world No. 1 spot.
Mauresmo, who has already won three titles this year
including the Australian Open, will face Russian second seed
Nadia Petrova in Saturday's final.
Victory in that match will catapult the Frenchwoman to the
top of the rankings, past Belgian Kim Clijsters who is out of
action with an ankle injury.
It was a commanding performance from the fluent Mauresmo,
never letting former world No. 1 Hingis find her rhythm.
Hingis managed to hold her first two service games, but was
then broken six times in a row as Mauresmo's ferocious topspin
and extreme angles began to wreak havoc in the baseline
"I am happy that I am in the final," said Mauresmo, who had
not faced Hingis since 2001.
"I think I got it right out there. I served well and
returned well. I was seeing the ball well and I was able to play
Hingis, who returned from retirement this year after a
three-year break from the game, dropped serve in the fifth game
after some relentless pressure. Mauresmo then powered away to
take the opener.
Hingis managed two breaks of the Mauresmo serve in the
second set. However she was being pulled all over the court and
gradually wilted under the onslaught.
Mauresmo saved two break points at 3-2 and that effectively
ended the Hingis resistance. A netted backhand volley ended
contest after 63 minutes.
"I'm a bit disappointed. But I lost to the best player,"
said Hingis. "She [Mauresmo] is the player to beat. I am not
unhappy with my game because I know I'm progressing.
"But having said that I know there are certain areas of my
game where I need to concentrate more."
Mauresmo said it would take a while for Hingis to return to
the form that gave her five Grand Slam titles.
"[Martina] Hingis is a great player. I don't think she has
to prove anything. Perhaps, coming back after a long gap and
hitting top form would take some time, I feel," she said.
Petrova, ranked eighth in the world, overcame stiff
resistance in the second set to beat Sugiyama 6-1, 7-6 (2).
The Russian, a quarterfinalist at this year's Australian
Open, looked to be cruising to victory at 4-0 in the second set,
only for Sugiyama to reel off five straight games.
Petrova steadied herself in the tiebreaker, however,
battering a backhand down the line on her first matchpoint.