Jennifer Capriati struggled to a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Marion Bartoli in a second-round match at the Bank of West Classic on Wednesday.
In a tournament suddenly devoid of big names -- Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles and Anna Kournikova withdrew due to injuries -- the third-seeded Capriati is now a big draw. Her doubles match with partner Daniela Hantuchova was the featured contest on Tuesday.
"I'm here working on my game and playing tennis," Capriati said Wednesday after her latest victory. "You never know. Today I had a tough match. I have to get back to the mentality that I should be winning matches and I can still be number one."
The tournament lost its No. 4 seed Wednesday when unseeded Amy Frazier beat Hantuchova 6-2, 6-4. Fifth-seeded Jelena Dokic joined Capriati in the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-2 victory Wednesday over Alexandra Stevenson, who strained her right shoulder and was forced to withdraw from a later doubles match.
"We always have tough matches," Dokic said. "She served well at the beginning but I was very focused. I didn't let up."
Second-seeded Kim Clijsters opens play Thursday night against Stanford sophomore Amber Liu, the reigning NCAA singles champion. No one replaced Williams as the top seed after the Wimbledon champion withdrew.
Capriati, ranked No. 1 for 17 weeks in the fall of 2001, hasn't won a tournament since the 2002 Australian Open.
"I've been close," she said. "There are a few players close at the top. It's a fine line. I think I'm playing the best tennis I have so far this year."
Bartoli overcame early nerves to win the second set.
"I played the second set the right way," she said. "In third set I tried to do too much. You have to play perfectly if you want to win a point."
Seventh-seeded Eleni Daniilidou beat Tina Pisnik 6-1, 6-2 in a first-round match and will meet Francesca Schiavone in the second round.
"That was a very good start," Daniilidou said. "My serve was very good and I was at the net a lot. That made it easier to play."
Daniilidou lost to Schiavone at Warsaw earlier in the year.
"It will be a tough match," Daniilidou said. "I have to be ready to be patient, and play more aggressive."
In other first-round matches, qualifier Angela Haynes upset 58th-ranked Rita Grande 6-3, 6-4 in her first ever WTA Tour event; sixth-seeded Meghann Shaughnessy eliminated Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-1; and ninth-seeded Lisa Raymond beat Yoon-jeong Cho, 7-5, 5-7, 6-1.