ROME -- Jennifer Capriati beat an error-prone Serena Williams 6-4, 6-4 Saturday to reach the Italian Open final for the first time.
Williams, in her first tournament after nearly a month off with a sore left knee, had won eight straight matches against Capriati.
"I've lost to her so many times in a row. It's a very personal victory for me," the fifth-seeded Capriati said.
On Sunday, she'll play No. 2 Amelie Mauresmo, a 6-2, 6-3 winner against Vera Zvonareva.
It will be Mauresmo's fourth final in five years at the clay-court tuneup for the French Open. She lost the other three.
"I'm very satisfied by my play today," Mauresmo said. "I was in control from the beginning."
She won her 11th career title at last week's German Open.
Capriati had never been past the semifinals in 10 previous appearances in Rome. And she only made one semifinal trip, in 2002, when she lost in three sets to eventual champion Williams.
"Good things happen to those who wait. You have to be patient," Capriati said.
She broke Williams to go ahead 5-4 in the first set, then served it out. In the second set, Capriati claimed a 5-1 lead with help from mistakes by Williams.
After Williams held to make it 5-2, Capriati double-faulted, and Williams broke to 5-3. After holding, Williams had two break points to even the set at 5-5.
But she hit three consecutive shots into the net to give Capriati her second match point. Williams then hit a forehand that struck the top of the net. The ball hung in the air for a split second and came back down on Williams' side.
"There are voices in my head that I'm trying to brush aside," Capriati said. "I knew I had another time to serve and that's what I felt: 'Just go for it. If it's not going to happen, it's not going to happen. I'm not going to let it go by giving it away.'
"I've let matches like this slip away. Today I just tried to keep concentrated to the end."
The top-seeded Williams was playing her first tournament since pulling out of an event in Charleston, S.C., last month. She had surgery on the knee in August and returned to action in March.
Williams' only other loss this year came against Russia's Nadia Petrova in Amelia Island, Fla., in early April.
"I definitely didn't serve well enough," Williams said. "Overall, I didn't play well enough. But for me, it's big step. I think theoretically I'm doing a lot better."