You're a Mess - Serena
Serena smashing at State Farm
Michael Chow/The Arizona Republic
"I'm so excited," Serena Williams said after defeating Jennifer Capriati 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 Sunday at the State Farm Classic in Scottsdale for her first title of the season.
Aces up to 112 mph squelch Capriati
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 4, 2002
Serena Williams decided she wasn't going to lose on Sunday in the final of the State Farm Classic.
Throughout the week in Scottsdale the No. 3 seed graded her performances. Her first match, a 6-3, 6-3 dismissal of qualifier Alina Jidkova, scored only a 2 out of 10. Williams gave herself a 3 after clubbing Nicole Pratt 6-2, 7-5, and her 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 upset of No. 2 seed Martina Hingis in the semifinals rated a 4.
After Williams beat top seed Jennifer Capriati 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 for the $93,000 winner's share of the $585,000 tournament, the self-described "insatiable" perfectionist felt she had earned a 5½.
"A win is a win," said Williams, who won her first title of the season in her first appearance in Scottsdale. "I just need to take this home, watch some film and see what I can do better."
Against Australian Open champion Capriati, who hadn't lost a set in three State Farm matches, Williams dictated points, breaking Capriati's serve to open the match and jumping to a 5-0 lead.
"I got another slow start today, but I really got my game going," Capriati said. "I don't think it could have been closer in the third set. It was just a matter of points here and there.
"Really it came down to serving."
Capriati had four double faults and one ace. Williams committed two double faults and served 11 aces, including two while serving for the match.
Williams' win protected sister Venus Williams' No. 1 spot. Capriati will stay at No. 2 when the Sanex WTA Tour releases its rankings today. Serena will jump from No. 9 to No. 6.
After splitting the first two sets, the players produced their best tennis in the third, with both going for the lines and using all their shots in front of a record crowd of 5,314 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.
Capriati double-faulted twice in the third game to give Williams a break, but she evened the set at 4 with a break in the nine-minute eighth game.
An hour and 36 minutes into the nearly two-hour match, Williams served two aces on her way to a 40-15 lead. Capriati smashed a forehand winner for 40-30, and Williams miss-hit an overhead for deuce.
A long Williams backhand gave Capriati her first break chance, but Williams erased it with a 101 mph ace. After two more chances and several long rallies - including one point with Williams at the net and Capriati running down volleys before taking one out of the air for a backhand, cross-court winner - Capriati earned the break when Williams hit a forehand wide.
"I was able to break her serve, but I couldn't hold on my serve," Capriati said. "I didn't come in with big serves. I broke, and I got broken right back."
Capriati went down 15-40 in the next game and, after battling back to deuce, lost when Williams nailed a forehand return down the line and placed a backhand winner down the line to allow herself to serve for the match.
"I was able to focus in the end," Williams said.
She missed a forehand volley long but came back to 15-15 with a 106 mph ace. Capriati won the next point, powering an inside-out forehand deep, but it was the last point she won.
Williams' next serve was clocked at 108. Capriati blocked it back, but Williams smashed an overhead Capriati could not quite reach.
Williams scorched a 112 mph ace on her first match point.
"I've got to call my friends and tell them I'm going to be on ESPN," she said after her 12th tour singles championship. "I'm so excited."