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Vaidisova arrives on the world stage

Written by: Staff

PARIS, June 5 (Reuters) Blonde, beautiful and talented, Nicole Vaidisova became the latest model to emerge from the Nick Bollettieri production line.

The Czech announced her arrival on the world stage when she caused the biggest upset at this year's French Open by claiming the scalp of world number one Amelie Mauresmo.

''I'm excited. I'm definitely excited,'' the 17-year-old said with an American twang following her 6-7 6-1 6-2 fourth-round win yesterday.

''Never played a quarter-finals in a grand slam. Never beat Amelie; never beat a number one player in the world. I'm definitely happy and very, very excited, you know.

''I was in my little zone. It definitely felt great.'' Mauresmo had thrashed Vaidisova at the same stage of the Australian Open in January but under the pressure cooker atmosphere in her home grand slam, the Frenchwoman failed to produce the goods when it counted.

DIFFERENT GAME ''I think it was a totally different match, different atmosphere, you know playing in France,'' said Vaidisova, who was born in Germany.

''I definitely am very happy the way I played. I knew I had to be more aggressive than I was (in Melbourne)... definitely worked for me today.'' With her glamorous looks and Eastern European roots, Vaidisova can expect the inevitable comparisons to Bollettieri's other well know prodigies, Russians Maria Sharapova and Anna Kournikova.

''It doesn't really bother me if people are comparing me to somebody. Maria was compared to Anna, so everybody gets compared to somebody,'' she said.

With six trophies already in her possesion Vaidisova has already proved that she is not made in the same mould as Kournikova, who famously failed to win any WTA singles titles despite earning millions from lucrative sponsorship deals.

But if she lifts the French Open title next Saturday, the teenager will not mind joining 2004 Wimbledon champion Sharapova in the grand slam winners' circle.

Reuters PDS VP0427

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