Jennifer Moves Along
I'd say we can never count Cappy out of any slam - and we learned that in 2001.
I think she'll fall short - but we'll see shan't we?
Capriati Cruises After Clijsters Stumbles
Wed May 8,12:59 PM ET
By Patrick Vignal
BERLIN (Reuters) - Top seed Jennifer Capriati enjoyed a good workout to reach the third round of the German Open on Wednesday just after big rival Kim Clijsters made a surprise early exit from the claycourt tournament.
World number two Capriati, a losing finalist in Berlin last year, beat fellow-American Meilen Tu 6-4 6-3 in her first match as she had a first-round bye.
Second seed Clijsters, who is just one spot below Capriati in the WTA rankings, had earlier paid the price for a crowded schedule and a sore shoulder by losing in three sets to Israel's Anna Smashnova.
Clijsters, who practices with her boyfriend, men's world number one Lleyton Hewitt, survived three match points but Smashnova converted a fourth to seal a 5-7 6-4 7-5 victory.
The 26-year-old Capriati, who made a big breakthrough in the German capital as a teen-ager, reaching the semifinals 11 years ago, was never in trouble but her victory was not as easy as the score suggested.
Tu put up a stiff challenge, battling it out for over 90 minutes before hitting a return wide on the second match point.
"She played really well," Capriati said of her opponent. "It was a good workout."
The Australian Open (news - web sites) champion could theoretically knock compatriot Venus Williams (news - web sites) off the top of the world rankings if she wins in Berlin. All depends on who she might beat along the way.
But she said her main aim was to warm up for the defense of her French Open (news - web sites) title later this month.
"To be honest I don't really follow the points situation and if the media were not around, I wouldn't be bothered about it at all," she said. "I just want to concentrate on playing as well as I can before the French."
Clijsters failed to recapture the form that had inspired her to beat Venus Williams in the Hamburg Cup final Sunday.
"I was feeling tired and my shoulder was hurting a bit," the 18-year-old Belgian said after losing her first match in Berlin for the second straight year.
"Maybe I could have pumped myself up a little more and perhaps I would have done it if this had been a grand slam," added Clijsters, who burst into the limelight by reaching the French Open final last year.
"At least now I will be able to rest for a few days."
Unseeded Smashnova, ranked 35th in the world, fought for nearly three hours on a warm day in the German capital to oust Clijsters, who came back from 5-2 down to take the first set but then accumulated unusual unforced errors.
Fourth-seed Serena Williams (news - web sites) had earlier made a smooth start to the tournament with a straightforward 6-3 6-2 win over Austria's Barbara Schett.
"Both of us could have played better," said Williams after her first match of the year on the red clay of Europe less than three weeks before the start of the French Open on May 27.
Fifth-seed Justine Henin looked like she might join compatriot Clijsters out when she lost the first set of her match against rising German Martina Mueller but last year's Wimbledon (news - web sites) finalist recovered for a 2-6 6-2 6-3 win.
Holder Amelie Mauresmo cruised through in spectacular fashion. The powerful Frenchwoman, seeded seventh, brushed aside qualifier Cara Black of Zimbabwe 6-4 6-0.
Triple French Open champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario also survived the second round without any problems, crushing 2000 German Open winner Conchita Martinez (news - profile - photos) 6-1 6-3 in a one-sided all-Spanish battle.