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Pilots' Blog

Our bloggers check in with the latest news and views from the 2008 Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Chaka Con?

Anna Chakvatadze minces no words -- she wants to be the No. 1 women's tennis player in the world.

"That's my goal," she said on Friday after beating Amelie Mauresmo in a Pilot Pen semifinal match.

If so, Chakvetadze (currently ranked No. 10) will need to improve her concentration and maturity level to get there, according to Mauresmo herself.

"Mentally today, she went down a little bit in the second set. I guess she will have to raise these moments," Mauresmo said. "Her serve, also – there were a few double faults there (nine for the match). But it's very hard to say the way she's going to evolve and grow up a little bit in her game, and mentally. It's difficult to know if she's going to be able to put things together and really focus the way she has to to get to that No. 1 spot. It's going to be hard."

Mauresmo knows a thing or two about being No. 1. She held that spot for most of 2006 while winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Since then, injuries and illness have contributed to her falling out of the top 30, though her strong performance this week at the Pilot Pen has her thinking she can get back to her former perch.

Not to pick on Chakvatadze too much, but she also had probably the most embarassing moment of the tourney on Friday night. Awaiting a high Mauresmo lob return at the net late in the third set, Mauresmo flat-out swung and missed at the ball. Just plain old swung and missed.

She was able to spin around and hit a backhand -- into the net. Chakvatadze was able to laugh at the mistake, both on the court and after the match.

"Oh my God. I just lost the ball in the sky, I don't know how it happened," she said. "It was not that difficult a shot."

I asked her the last time she remembers whiffing at a shot.

"I don't know," she replied. "I just remember the last time, my hair got stuck in the racket."

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