Amelie Mauresmo has been the best player in the world but is yet to win a Grand Slam. If she is to put that little matter right here at Wimbledon on Saturday, she must perform as she did in the second set of her fourth-round match against Elena Likhovtseva yesterday.
Mauresmo, a Frenchwoman whose grace belies her butch physique, defeated the Russian 6-4, 6-0 in what might best be described as a match of two halves. Class told in the end but Mauresmo faces a full-time job trying to convince the world that she does not choke at the big event.
A year ago, in the semifinals against Serena Williams, she seemed destined for the Wimbledon final until she let her standards slip. Mauresmo has a history of similar disappointments.
"It is all about taking my opportunities," Mauresmo said. "I think last year, even though I played a great match in the semi-finals, I still think I had probably only two or three points I didn't take 100 per cent. I think that probably made the difference."
But Mauresmo was fortunate yesterday. Even when she struggled, as she did at the start of the first set, she was still too good for Likhovtseva. The second set was sublime from Mauresmo's point of view.
"I think the beginning of the match was tough for me," Mauresmo said. "I couldn't really find my rhythm. I was staying a little bit too far from the baseline to be able to produce a really aggressive game. And I think my serve wasn't working really well. So I had to adjust towards the end of the first set.
"I had two days off, which maybe was a little too much. But, of course, the second set was much better. I was more aggressive, finding my rhythm, finding my game, getting in, reading the ball pretty well. Even when I was staying back, I felt I was pretty strong at the baseline. The courts are slow and you do have to play some shots from the back of the court."
In one sense, Mauresmo has become a walking contradiction. Her talent is undeniable - no player, not even Maria Sharapova, has such a range of shots - and she is so attractive to watch when in full flow.
But the fact that she reached the No 1 ranking said more about the state of women's tennis than it did about Mauresmo. At the time, the Williams sisters were in transition, the Belgians were injured, and Lindsay Davenport was in emotional retirement.
There is a view that Mauresmo cannot focus for an entire match. She achieves so much because she is so good, but she seems to lack that sharpness required to become a Sharapova.
"It's not really a case of focus," Mauresmo said. "It's more of a rhythm thing. Also, I think the courts are getting slower and slower. It is very hot, too. You know, it has been hot for eight days or so. Really, you could play the whole match at the baseline if you wanted.
"Sometimes you have different opportunities. Sometimes you ask yourself too many questions. Sometimes it is not so good. But I still enjoy that fact that I can either come to the net or play from the back of the court. I think it is still a weapon, so that's good."
Mauresmo next faces Anastasia Myskina, who ended the hopes of fellow Russian Elena Dementieva 1-6, 7-6, 7-5, for a place in the semi-finals.