Mauresmo overcomes elements to reach semis

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The Independent Online

Nobody told Amélie Mauresmo about the wind. When the organisers of the Hastings Direct championships went knocking on the world No 4's door seeking a genuine Wimbledon contender to replace the injured Kim Clijsters and fatigued Anastasia Myskina, they painted pictures of gentility by the sea and tennis to polite applause, but they didn't mention the constant gusts that turn forehands into backhands at a split second's notice.

Yet, Mauresmo is certainly enjoying her first visit to Eastbourne. Despite the national disappointment of her quarter-final loss at the French Open, her frame of mind is positive, and even the sea breezes she described as "very frustrating" could not stop her advancing to the semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-3 win over the eighth seed, Maggie Maleeva.

Mauresmo described Eastbourne as offering "perfect conditions to prepare for Wimbledon" and she may thank the wind, for yesterday's very cerebral victory.

The 24-year-old Frenchwoman was forced to think her way through some tricky situations against the veteran Bulgarian. She had intended to serve-and-volley when possible, which reduced the risk of shots being blown off course, and her judicious use of the short slice to bring Maleeva into the net paid handsome dividends.

Her greatest strength was her acceptance of the elements, showing virtually no dissent or frustration at line calls bad shots, or ill-timed gusts. "That's just the way it is," she said. "It's very frustrating because we both found it hard to control the ball, but I'm happy with the win, and about the whole picture."

Mauresmo plays Daniela Hantuchova, of Slovakia, in today's semi-finals, .