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Serena roars back to beat Capriati, make semis

Defending champion and top-seed Serena Williams dropped her first set at Wimbledon on Tuesday, but recovered to reach the women's singles semi-finals.
PTI | By Agence France-Presse, London
PUBLISHED ON JUL 01, 2003 11:09 PM IST

Defending champion and top seed Serena Williams dropped her first set at Wimbledon on Tuesday, but recovered to reach the women's singles semi-finals beating US eighth seed Jennifer Capriati 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 in 1hr 40min.

Serena, who has won four of the past five Grand Slam titles, scored her ninth win in 13 outings over Capriati and her eighth in a row to beat her rival for the first time on grass after firing down seven aces - though she also produced 36 unforced errors, nearly half of them in the opening set.

Capriati turned in just 11 aross the match - but to no avail.

The 21-year-old Serena now faces either Belgian third seed Justine Henin-Hardenne or Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.

"It was definitely tough," said a relieved Serena afterwards.

She plays very well and I knew I was in for a match," said Serena after pulling the encounter out of the fire.

"I just had to come back. I at least wanted to go three sets if I could.

"I definitely enjoyed it. It's a really good result.

"I have no nerves. I've been in this position so many times. Semi-final of three Grand Slams (this season), so that's not bad at all."

Serena, who took her record at the All England Club to 23-3, had not even lost a set at the event since her 2001 quarter-final loss here against Capriati.

This time history did not repeat itself as Serena turned the tables to pocket the match and deny her opponent a third appearance in the semi-finals, the previous two a decade apart in 1991 - when she was aged just 15 - and two years ago.

Capriati has won three Grand Slam crowns and captured 13 Tour titles overall.

She landed back to back wins at the Australian Open in 2001 and 2002 as well as at the 2001 French Open but has since struggled to keep pace with the Williams sisters.

Serena, bidding for a 23rd career title, is still involved in the doubles with sister Venus, whom she beat in last year's singles final.

This year she has lifted the Australian Open, the Paris indoor title and also triumphed at Miami, where she beat Capriati in the final.

To date she has held the top world ranking for 52 weeks.

Capriati began superbly as she broke for leads of 2-1 and then 5-2 in the opening set as she found her range the quicker.

But quickfire breaks for 4-2 and then to wrap up the set enabled Serena to level the contest as she turned her power game full on.

Capriati, by now on the back foot, eked out a break point at 3-5 in the decider but netted a forehand.

Serena then netted a deep forehand to hand her rival a second break opportunity but again survived with a crunching forehand winner and Capriati then fired wide to hand the top seed match point.

Despite having the whole court to aim at Capriati pushed a forehand into the net and her Wimbledon campaign was over.

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