PARIS (Reuters) - Local favourite Amelie Mauresmo reached the final of the Paris Open with a 6-2 0-6 6-1 victory over second seed Jelena Jankovic on Saturday.
The Frenchwoman, who won the tournament in 2001 and 2006, next faces Olympic champion Elena Dementieva after the third seed from Russia went through when Serena Williams pulled out injured.
“I played two sets well but I also had a sudden feeling of exhaustion,” said Mauresmo in a courtside interview.
“When I was 3-0 or 4-0 down in the second set I just let it go to have some strength for the third. In the first and third sets I was rigorous.”
World number one Williams withdrew from her match with a right knee injury and Dementieva had to make do with a practice session.
“I was limited with my movement,” said the American. “I’m the kind of player who wants to be able to give at least 80 percent.
“I feel like I can do pretty well against most players but today I don’t feel like I could have gotten close to that.”
Mauresmo, who has been plagued by injuries and has dropped to 24th in the rankings after reaching number one in 2004, broke serve in the fourth game against Jankovic.
She then saved a break point in the seventh game before taking the opening set when her opponent netted an easy backhand.
Serb Jankovic hit back in stunning style, racing through the second set in just 17 minutes.
She also broke serve in the first game of the third, only for Mauresmo to break straight back.
The eighth-seeded Frenchwoman then held serve in a marathon 15-minute game, imploring the crowd to support her at one point, before sweeping through the set.
Mauresmo wrapped up victory on her second match point when Jankovic sent a backhand long.
“I have been serving well since the beginning of the tournament,” said Mauresmo. “I have actually worked a lot on my serve this winter.
“I’m now up against a player I know very well. She will be fresh as she did not play today.”
Mauresmo has an 8-6 record against Dementieva although the Russian won their last two encounters in straight sets.
Editing by Tony Jimenez
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.