Mauresmo, Pierce in 1st All-French Final at WTA Paris

Posted on February 12, 2006

After 14 years of waiting, the WTA Open Gaz de Paris will host its first all-French final Sunday after Slam champions Amelie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce advanced to the final in semifinal play on Saturday.

Mauresmo navigated a difficult all-French match-up in her semifinal, coming from a set down to beat countrywoman Tatiana Golovin 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-2. The Aussie Open champ led 5-0 in the first set until the wheels came off, losing six of the next seven games, then the tiebreak.

In the second set Golovin held a match point serving at 5-4 but could not convert. Mauresmo broke for 4-2 in the third and ran out the set to victory.

"I think I struggled a little today," said the 26-year-old Mauresmo, who faced the 18-year-old Golovin for the first time. "The first two sets were close and could have gone either way. In the third set I was just trying to put the ball in and win. I tried to serve and volley a little more and change the rhythm and I think I got her with that. I'm going to have to recover quickly tonight. My body is hurting and tired right now. Unfortunately I've never been good at recovering quickly but my physio will work hard to get me ready for tomorrow."

Pierce's semifinal was a more straightforward affair, with the resurgent 31-year-old No. 2 seed rolling No. 4 Patty Schnyder 6-4, 6-2 in 74 minutes.

"I'm very happy to be in the final, I love playing here," said Pierce, rebounding from an early loss at the Aussie Open. "I was slow to get into the match today but once I got my rhythm I felt good. I knew I had to up my level of play to beat her because she's such a good player. Patty hits the balls with a lot of spin and it's good for me because I love to return those. I hit a few key shots and she wasn't able to get them back."

Mauresmo leads her career meetings with Pierce 5-4.

"Mary and I have played great matches," Mauresmo said. "If all goes well, tomorrow should be a good battle. Mary is going to come out swinging, she wants to avenge her Tour Championships loss, but I'll do my best to win."

The doubles final will feature top seeds Cara Black and Rennae Stubbs against No. 3 seeds Emilie Loit and Kveta Peschke.