CASTELLANETA MARINA, Italy -- Francesca
Schiavone produced an inspired performance to beat
Amelie Mauresmo 7-5, 6-3 and bring Italy level at 1-1 in
their Fed Cup semifinal with France on Saturday.
Mauresmo, who lost her Wimbledon crown last week after
falling to Nicole Vaidisova in the fourth round, struggled with her
serve in the breeze and struck several mishits.
"I am lacking victories a bit recently which has contributed
to my loss of confidence," Mauresmo told a news conference.
"Today she played very well, better than me. On this sort of
surface the balls bounce very high and it bothered me."
Mauresmo has never won her home Grand Slam, the French Open,
which is played on Roland Garros's clay.
Seven breaks of serve littered the first set but Schiavone
grabbed the most crucial one in the 11th game thanks largely to
a superb passing shot down the line.
She held her nerve in the blistering heat to take the set
7-5 and then broke the world No. 6 again in a marathon
first game of the second set.
Schiavone, ranked No. 31 in the world and Italy's No. 3,
never looked troubled from there on and some determined running
around the court spurred her to another break and victory.
"My tennis was better than hers, there were no miracles,"
said Schiavone, who now has a 4-4 record against Mauresmo.
"I am not very happy just happy to have taken home this
point. I will be happy tomorrow if we win. I knew it would be a
hard match but I knew I could beat her."
Earlier, Tatiana Golovin overcame Italy's Tathiana Garbin
6-3, 2-6, 6-2 to give France a 1-0 lead.
Golovin took a scrappy first set after a Garbin double fault
and a loose forehand gave her the crucial breaks but the Italian
No. 1 evened the match as Golovin lost concentration.
The third set went against serve for the first four games
but world No. 19 Golovin then showed her greater power from
the baseline to force two more breaks and close out the match.
The reverse singles and doubles match take place on Sunday.
Russia faces the United States in the other semifinal.