Thu, Jul 03, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Serena recovers to reach semifinals

WIMBLEDON The Williams sisters will face a Belgian pair in the next round after Serena came from one set behind to beat Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals


Serena Williams of the US returns the ball to compatriot Jennifer Capriati during their quarterfinal match on center court at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London on Tuesday.


Serena Williams smacked one last volley to complete a quarterfinal comeback at Wimbledon, then let out a shriek and raised her arms. She still gets a kick out of beating Jennifer Capriati.

Williams overcame an erratic start Tuesday to defeat Capriati for the eighth consecutive time, winning 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

The defending champion will next face Justine Henin-Hardenne, an upset winner in their French Open semifinal four weeks ago.

"I have no nerves, I've been in this position so many times," Williams said.

Henin-Hardenne, seeded third, beat No. 33 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-2.

Williams joined her older sister in the semifinals. Venus Williams, the Wimbledon champion in 2000 and 2001, won the final five games and the last 11 points to beat No. 5 Lindsay Davenport 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.

Davenport, the 1999 champion, said the match may have been her last at Wimbledon. Newly married and hampered by injuries in recent years, Davenport said she plans to play the US Open but may be nearing retirement.

"There are absolutely no plans made," said Davenport, 27. "It's not saying that it's over. It's just saying that I'm not sure."

Venus Williams, like her sister, will play a Belgian in the semifinals -- No. 2 Kim Clijsters, who was stung by a bee but rallied past No. 27 Silvia Farina Elia 5-7, 6-0, 6-1.

At one point midway through her match, Serena Williams had committed 20 unforced errors to four for Capriati. But the top-seeded Williams became more patient, winning one rally that lasted 28 strokes, and swept seven consecutive games to take the lead for good.

"She had to play her best tennis there to raise her game completely to beat me," Capriati said. "I don't think I gave her the match. She had to step it up."

There were numerous long rallies, and Williams described them as "fantastic."

"I enjoyed them all," she said. "I didn't win them all, but I definitely enjoyed them because it gets me focused for the big players. I know what I'm up against."

She'll now get a chance to avenge her loss at Henin-Hardenne at Paris, where French fans cheered mistakes by Williams and jeered her afterward, reducing her to tears. There was more: Williams accused Henin-Hardenne of cheating by calling a timeout and then not acknowledging it.

Henin-Hardenne takes no hard feelings into the rematch.

"We're professional enough to do this," she said. "There is no problem between each other."

In the completion of the final fourth-round match, suspended Monday night because of darkness, No. 13-seeded Sebastien Grosjean beat French Open winner Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3).

Grosjean, whose win left the men's quarterfinals with no former Grand Slam champion, was to play No. 10 Tim Henman yesterday.

No. 4 Roger Federer was scheduled to face No. 8 Sjeng Schalken, but both are hobbling. Federer hurt his back warming up for his fourth-round match and skipped practice Tuesday but expects to play. Schalken is slowed by inflammation in his left foot.

No. 5 Andy Roddick will face Jonas Bjorkman. Unseeded Mark Philippoussis, who hit 46 aces Monday to upset Andre Agassi, will play Alexander Popp of Germany, ranked No. 198.

While the Williams sisters advanced in singles, they were eliminated in the third round of doubles by Russians Elena Dementieva and Lina Krasnoroutskaya, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Seeking to end a nine-match losing streak against the Williams sisters, the No. 8-seeded Capriati started fast. She broke for a 2-1 lead, then again when Williams committed three consecutive unforced errors to make it 5-2.

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