Mauresmo Sent Packing in Rome

Posted on May 17, 2007

ROME, Italy - On Wednesday, No.29-ranked Samantha Stosur caused the first major upset at the $1.34-million Internazionali BNL d'Italia, stunning top seed and world No.4 Amelie Mauresmo in a three-set thriller that lasted almost three hours.

Playing in the third match on Campo Centrale, Mauresmo and Stosur battled for two hours, 47 minutes, going shot for shot in a match that could have gone either way.

Eventually, Stosur's mental stamina pulled her through as she closed out the match in a tight third-set tie-break, 75 67(4) 76(7).

"I think this time, I actually believed I could win the match and just gave myself every chance to do that," said Stosur, who scored her first win over Mauresmo in six meetings.

On paper, Mauresmo was the clear favorite - a former world No.1 who grew up on clay against Stosur who admits that the surface doesn't suit her.

But it was Stosur who proved her mettle, saving two match points and mixing up her game with forays into the net, a tactic that has surely improved with her tremendous success as the world No.2, formerly No.1, in doubles.

After being up a set and 5-4, then 6-5 in the second set, Stosur was denied in the tie-break.

In the third set, Mauresmo seemed to be cruising, taking a 4-1 lead. She even had one match point at 5-4, but this time, she was the one who was denied. The Frenchwoman had another match point at 6-5 in a nailbiting tie-break in which the players exchanged winners. But again, Stosur didn't back down. Two points later, it was the Australian with the match point. But Mauresmo rallied back. Stosur gave herself another match point at 8-7, which she didn't let slip away, and is now into the third round at this Tier I event.

"The whole match was tight. Hopefully I can come back and do it again tomorrow," said Stosur, who saved seven of nine break points in the match.

She'll meet another seed in the third round, No.14 Patty Schnyder, who had a 64 60 win over Meilen Tu also on Wednesday.

In fact, with exception to Mauresmo and No.15 seed Katarina Srebotnik, who lost to Anabel Medina Garrigues 63 62, all of the seeds on Wednesday's schedule advanced to the third round in straight sets.

No.2 seed and world No.3 Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Italian favorite Mara Santangelo 63 63, while No.3 seed Jelena Jankovic beat qualifier Tamira Paszek, 63 64.

Other seeded second-round winners were Nadia Petrova, Dinara Safina, Anna Chakvetadze, Daniela Hantuchova, Elena Dementieva and Shahar Peer.

In doubles, the No.3-seeded duo of Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs won their opening match with 63 64 win over Catalina Castano and Lourdes Dominguez Lino. No.5 seeds Sun Tiantian and Yan Zi also won, defeating Alberta Brianti and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.

Thursday's schedule of play starts at 1 p.m. local time with an all-Russian match-up between Dementieva and Petrova on Campo Centrale. No.8-seeded Serena Williams will also be in action, facing Peer. The night match will feature Kuznetsova against Yuliana Fedak. (WTA)