Amazing Amelie reaches semi-finals

Amelie Mauresmo produced the performance of her life to hammer third seed Jennifer Capriati and reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time.

Amelie Mauresmo produced the performance of her life to hammer third seed Jennifer Capriati and reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time.

The 22-year-old Frenchwoman said she had ‘‘never played better’’ after taking just one hour to dispose of the American 6-3 6-2.

‘‘I am very happy about the consistency. From the beginning to the end I didn’t let anything go and I think that was the key today.’’

In a match delayed twice in the first set by short bursts of rain Mauresmo held her nerve better and banished memories of previous matches in which her mental fragility had let her down.

She had lost to Capriati twice already this year and struggled with the occasion when she appeared in her only Grand Slam final to date, losing to Martina Hingis in Australia in 1999.

But today Mauresmo simply went into overdrive as she closed in on one of the best wins of her career.

Capriati, who called an injury time-out for a left shoulder strain midway through the second set, had no answer to her booming game and fell apart.

Mauresmo said: ‘‘I’ve had a few bad experiences and I thought, it’s stupid to let it go like this.

‘‘You have to play, you have to defend your chances better than this. And that’s what I’m doing, trying not to have any regret when I go out on the court.’’

And Capriati, who is still to add Wimbledon to her recent collection of Grand Slam titles, was magnanimous in defeat.

She said: ‘‘I was playing an opponent who was the best she’s played for a long, long time.

‘‘I don’t think I really had a chance to play out there. In the first set I had no rhythm at all because we had to go on and off and, when you’re playing against someone who is playing so well, it just puts more pressure on you.

‘‘I think she did everything great. She has never been as consistent as she was today. Usually if you can just stay in there with her she can make a few unforced errors. There was none of that today.’’

Capriati, who had been stretched to three sets by unseeded Greek Eleni Daniilidou in the previous round, lost her focus in the sixth game of the match as rain started to spit around her.

She served two consecutive double faults to give Mauresmo the break for 4-2 - and the Frenchwoman made light of a further brief delay to serve out for the set.

Capriati saved a break point in the first game of the second set but was broken in the third when she flopped a pitiful forehand volley into the net.

Mauresmo grabbed the double break with a brilliant forehand down the line and Capriati, who rubbed her troublesome shoulder with ice in the ensuing medical timeout, needed a miracle.

Mauresmo, who leapt into the air on her moment of triumph, added: ‘‘My mental state has been a little bit up and down. But now I walk out onto the court knowing I can do it.’’

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