No. 8 Mauresmo enjoys new territory

Notebook

But 1st Slam quarterfinal brings up No. 2 Capriati

U.S. Open

September 04, 2001|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - Amelie Mauresmo has gone where she's never been before - into the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament. And what does she get as a reward?

Second seed Jennifer Capriati, the Australian and French Open champion.

Mauresmo smiled.

"I think I [will] give it a shot," No. 8 seed Mauresmo said, after beating fellow Frenchwoman and No. 9 seed Nathalie Tauziat, 6-0, 6-7 (1), 6-3.

Mauresmo defeated Capriati in Germany last May but said she isn't thinking about history, noting this is a very different match in Capriati's home country. And that it is also unfamiliar territory.

"But I don't want it to end," she said. "I'm happy to be here and we'll see what happens."

Capriati had to fight off a number of break points in the first set against Barbara Schett, but she was done and in the shower in 1 hour, 6 minutes after ousting Schett, 6-3, 6-3.

In other women's action yesterday, No. 5 Kim Clijsters moved on with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 win over No. 11 Elena Dementieva, and No. 4 Venus Williams eventually rolled over No. 18 Sandrine Testud, 6-4, 6-0.

Celebrate, celebrate

In a battle of unseeded men, Mariano Zabaleta reacted as if he'd won the Open title after he advanced to the quarterfinals with a straight-sets victory over Xavier Malisse, 6-4, 7-6 (4), 7-5.

Off came his headband. Off came his wristband. Off came his shirt.

"Oh, I'm so happy," Zabaleta said. "You know, it is my first time in one Grand Slam quarterfinal. I so happy because I win four matches, very important matches. I beat big guys. I'm so happy, too, because I'm playing very good tennis. I play, I think, my best tennis in the year."

Zabaleta, who was ranked as high as No. 20 in his rookie season on tour, is now 103rd. He has upset No. 8 seed Sebastien Grosjean, ousted wild card Taylor Dent and then upset well-respected No. 30 Greg Rusedski.

Next on Zabaleta's dance card is defending champion and third seed Marat Safin, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) winner over No. 14 Thomas Johansson.

"It doesn't matter who I play," Zabaleta said. "It is the same. Johansson is very good and Safin better."

Rising to the occasion

Second seed Andre Agassi went into his match with Roger Federer yesterday with high regard. It was Federer, after all, who had ousted seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras from Wimbledon in July.

"He should take it as a compliment that he inspired me to be so much on my game," Agassi said after a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory. "It takes that kind of respect for somebody's weapons and somebody's abilities that force you to execute everything without second-guessing it. A lot of times, when people cut you slack or give you room, you choose the lower end of the quality of shot because you don't want to miss, and you know you can get away with it.

"But today was a question of knowing I had to execute a certain standard of shot, and there was no hesitation in any of my games."

Agassi said he went from third to fifth gear for the first time in this tournament. Asked to describe what it means to go from third gear to one most humans never find, he said: "It's just that I was seeing the ball that well. You feel like it's coming off your racket solid, you feel like you have time to get to the ball. You're not letting anything affect your focus or concentration. It's a pretty tight package."

Agassi's next opponent is Sampras, and he said he's looking forward to it just as much as he imagines tennis fans are.

"It's a can't-lose match," he said. "The fans can't lose, and neither can either of us."

Feature matches

Men's singles

Gustavo Kuerten (1) vs. Albert Costa

Lleyton Hewitt (4) vs. Tommy Haas (16)

Yevgeny Kafelnikov (7) vs. Arnaud Clement (12)

Andy Roddick (18) vs. Tommy Robredo Women's singles

Martina Hingis (1) vs. Daja Bedanova

Lindsay Davenport (3) vs. Serena Williams (10)

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