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Triumphant return for Mauresmo

sports Updated: Sep 19, 2007 19:30 IST
Nick Mulvenney

France's Amelie Mauresmo made an unspectacular return to tennis after a two-month layoff with a 6-2 6-2 victory over Romania's Ioana Raluca Olaru at the China Open on Wednesday.

With top seed and defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova announcing her withdrawal from the $600,000 tournament because of an abdominal injury, third seed Mauresmo should at least reach the final for the second year in a row.

The 28-year-old, who had not hit a shot in anger since mid-July in a bid to recapture her desire to play, was delighted just to get through her opening encounter and into a quarter-final against Martina Hingis or Peng Shuai.

"I thought it was an okay match," said Mauresmo, who lost to Kuznetsova in last year's final.

"It was definitely not the best tennis I've ever played but considering I have had a couple of months off -- and a month and a half without touching a racket -- I'm just glad to come out of the court a winner today."


Mauresmo has had a poor 12 months since arriving in Beijing as world number one last year on the back of grand slam titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

She missed two months of the season because of appendicitis in March and had won just one title in 2007 at Antwerp before deciding to take some time off.

"The most difficult thing is to adjust to the rhythm," she said.

"It's one thing playing at home but when you get on court playing you have to readjust to the rhythm, especially when girls are playing faster and faster."

Lindsay Davenport clearly has had no problem adjusting to the pace of the game after a year away and she was in intimidating form in dismissing compatriot Julie Ditty 6-0 6-2 in her first round tie.

The three-times grand slam champion retired after last year's China Open but returned with a tournament victory in Bali last weekend, just three months after giving birth to her son Jagger.

The 31-year-old took 11 minutes to go 5-0 up and set up a second round tie against Greek Eleni Daniilidou with victory in just 48 minutes.

"I'm happy that my first match was quite easy so that I have a rest," Davenport said.

"I did feel tired after flying here from Bali."

Austrian Tamira Paszek became the last player into the second round when she beat American Jill Craybas 6-3 6-3.