Defending women’s champion, France’s Amelie Mauresmo, has upset the tournament’s third seed Monica Seles in straight sets in the opening quarter-final match of the day.
However, a potential recurrence of the back injury that plagued her 2000 season has put a dampener on Mauresmo’s victory.
In a tight tussle between two of the power players of the women’s circuit, Mauresmo maintained her concentration better to register last-gasp wins in both sets.
After breaking Seles in the first game of the match, Mauresmo lost her advantage in the seventh when the American broke back.
Games then went with serve until the tenth and final game, when successive miscued backhands by Seles gave Mauresmo a break, and the first set 6-4.
It was then Seles’ turn to take an early break, establishing a 3-1 lead at the start of the second set.
But in the sixth game, Mauresmo again demonstrated strength of character to break back and from there, games went with serve until the tie-break.
The see-sawing contest then continued in the tie-break, with Mauresmo first stealing a point on Seles’ serve, then the American replying with an unplayable return two points later to bring points back on serve.
However, at five-all with Seles serving, Mauresmo moved in to the net, guiding a stylish backhand volley past her opponent to set up matchpoint.
A powerful deep serve by the Frenchwoman then sealed the tie-break 7-5, and Mauresmo had booked herself a spot in the semi-finals.
But speaking after the match, Mauresmo conceded the back pain she began to feel early in the second set could affect the remainder of her adidas International campaign.
“Hopefully it is just muscle tightness, not the same injury that I had last year,” she said. “But I won’t know for sure until I get some treatment [later today].”
Meanwhile on court one, Lindsay Davenport has played out a challenging match against compatriot Lisa Raymond, the tournament’s number two seed eventually emerging victorious 7-5 6-4.