When I heard that Serena Williams had withdrawn from her semifinal match against Elena Dementieva in Paris, my first thought was, of course, that her knee was giving her trouble. Unfortunately, that was a correct guess. Williams said that her knee problem emerged again during her quarterfinal match against Emelie Loit, and that she felt pain during her warm-up today. She decided it wasn't worth making more trouble for herself, so Dementieva got a walkover.
Dementieva's opponent in the Open GDF SUEZ will be Amelie Mauresmo, the only Frenchwoman to survive the quarterfinals.
I hate it when one of my favorites plays another of my favorites, so it was with some uneasiness that I watched Mauresmo play Jelena Jankovic today. The first set showcased the Mauresmo we saw demolish Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals. She served extremely well, made some thrilling volleys, and maintained strong momentum to take the first set 6-2. Jankovic, for her part, was not serving that well or playing very aggressively.
In the second set, Mauresmo went away, losing her confidence and her serve. Jankovic had no trouble taking advantage of this situation, and she brought her own game up to a much higher level--the level that we expect of her. So lopsided was this set that Jankovic won it 6-0.
The third set did not begin well for Mauresmo--she was broken right off. But in a surprise turn, she broke Jankovic right back, then got the crowd even more involved than before. She then held, for the first time in a very long time, and--just like that--her confidence, and her serve, came back. She broke Jankovic to go up 3-1, then held, then broke Jankovic again. At 5-1, Mauresmo took the match on her third match point.
Despite the crazy nature of this match, it was nevertheless very enjoyable. As one of the commentators succinctly put it: Mauresmo won the short points, Jankovic won the long ones. There were some stunning rallies, with both women showing off their extreme athleticism. Jankovic's famous backhand down the line was on exhibition more than once, and Mauresmo showed yet again that she can volley her way to victory.