SportServer's Tennis Coverage
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By MEL REISNER, Associated Press
Serena Williams poses with her trophy after defeating Jennifer Capriati at the State Farm Tennis Classic.
AP Photo/Matt York
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (March 3, 2002 7:16 p.m. EST) - Serena Williams figures she owes her older sister a bunch of favors.
She paid off a big one Sunday, beating Jennifer Capriati 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the final of the State Farm Women's Tennis Classic.
The loss by Capriati means Venus Williams will keep the No. 1 world ranking for at least a second week.
"I owe her a ton," said Serena, who will improve from No. 9 to No. 6 when the WTA announces its rankings Monday.
Serena Williams spoke about the guilt she feels because Capriati beat her on the way to the Roland Garros title last year.
"I think at the French Open if I'd been more serious, if I'd got in better shape, that maybe Venus would be in better position right now, because I had a couple of chances to get Jennifer," Serena said. "And she (Venus) does a lot for me. When I'm at home alone I never eat. She gets there, she always cooks for me."
Serena Williams won in her first appearance in Scottsdale and first competition since she sprained her right ankle in a semifinal in Sydney in early January.
Capriati, displaced by Venus Williams a week ago, came in as the top-seeded player in the $583,000 Scottsdale event and No. 2 in the world.
But she wasn't able to regain the edge she once enjoyed against Serena, beating her four straight times - the last two in Grand Slam quarterfinals - after Williams won their first meeting in Berlin in 1999.
Williams ended the streak by winning a three-set final on a hard-court surface in Toronto last August, and overpowered Capriati in the harsh sunlight of the low desert in this meeting.
"I'm not disappointed because I didn't get to No. 1," said Capriati, who held the top ranking for nine weeks. "There's a lot of tournaments coming up and big matches coming up. I'm more disappointed that I didn't win this match, because I think I had my chances."
Williams, who finished 1999 ranked a career-best fourth after winning the U.S. Open and four other singles titles, made 68 unforced errors to Capriati's 43. But she also served 11 aces, ending the match with her second of the 10th game.
"I would have been able to do it a bit sooner if I could have got my serve in a little more, but a win's a win," Williams said. "I just need to take this home and watch some film, see what I can do better."
Before the final serve, Williams raced to the net for a smash off a low lob by Capriati, who could not clear the net with her return.
It was a flashback to the power game that Williams displayed in the first set, when she broke Capriati in the first, third and fifth games and held service to go ahead 5-0.
Capriati broke back in the sixth game and held service, but Williams won every point in the eighth game.
Capriati was unbeaten in 11 matches since qualifier Alexandra Stevenson upset her in the second round at Sydney, her first 2002 tournament, and won her second straight Australian Open title last month after becoming the first Grand Slam champion to fight off five match points in the final, a three-set win over Martina Hingis.
She showed the same pluck Sunday in the second set, countering Williams' strength with accurate groundstrokes and lobs.
She broke Williams in the second and fourth games to lead 3-1 and, after failing to hold service in the ninth game, broke Williams in the 10th.
In the final set, Capriati double-faulted three times in the pivotal third game, including on break point to send Williams to a 2-1 lead.
Capriati got the service break she was looking for in the eighth game to tie it 4-4, but Williams broke back in the next.
"I was able to break her serve, but I couldn't hold my serve," Capriati said. "I didn't have a high first-serve percentage (67 percent), and I didn't come in with big serves. Really, that was the difference: I broke and I got broke right back."
Venus Williams, who has won three titles this year, was upset by Sandrine Testud last week in the semifinals of the Dubai Women's Open after she appeared to hurt her left leg. She skipped the tournament to rest at home in Florida.
Mar 4th, 2002, 12:02 AM
Go 'head serena and take out the number 2 and 5 player in the world! Move up the rankings and nab those quality points!
That would explain why she is holding this trophy Huh
Mar 4th, 2002, 01:13 AM
Richard has SERENA and VENUS working as a team against the whole WTA it seems. :eek: :p
Mar 4th, 2002, 02:08 AM
Congrats Baby Sis!!! You kept the family honour :)
Mar 4th, 2002, 06:52 AM
Way to close out Black History Month, SERENA! :)
Mar 4th, 2002, 07:26 AM
What a great tournament for Serena!:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
Mar 4th, 2002, 08:48 AM
This is just so great! :D
Mar 4th, 2002, 11:13 AM
Congrats. Serena. I'm extremely proud of you for coming off such a long layoff to beat two former world number 1s. You deserve a higher ranking and I hope that you and Venus remain healthy for the rest of the year.
Mar 4th, 2002, 03:00 PM
I was able to watch the semi final vs. Hingis the other day. I swear, when Serena is playing well, NO ONE - NOT even her sister I don't think, can beat her. Her serve is wonderful, both her forehand and backhands are amazing, she can volley, she can run down anything. DId you see those passing shots? How about the point to end the first set??!!! I mean, in the first set, Serena first serve percentage was something like 45%, compared to 77% to Hingis, but Serena won that set in something like 22 minutes. That is total domination. The second set her forehand was going haywire, but I don't think that it was ever in doubt that Serena would win. And then she served flawlessly in the third set and took the one break to win it.
Okay, I know this is old news since shes now gone on to beat Capriati, but I only saw the semifinal so can't comment on the final.
Truy amazing that serena can come back and win this very competitive tourney right after her injury. She's a rock star.
Ruth in philly pa usa:bounce:
Mar 4th, 2002, 04:43 PM
What a great pic of Serena!!
I'm so happy for her! SHE JUST DID IT! DEFEATED JENNY AND HINGIS AT ONCE! :D :D
Go SERENA!!! LOOVE YA! :bounce:
Mar 4th, 2002, 08:24 PM
Serena has learned how to close out tight matches!!! Great job Serena!:bounce:
Mar 6th, 2002, 01:11 AM
Serena should have won the semi and final in straight sets. She and Venus, still have that nasty habit, of allowing their opponents back in the match. Venus did it at the Diamond tourney with Henin... had her foot on Henin.. took it off... let the damn match go three.
Still... it was encouraging to see RENA stay composed, inspite of the ridiculous errors she was making, and close both Hingis and Capriati out.
This is MAJOR. Like Diamond said it. Serena came out of NOWHERE, and wiped out Hingis and Capriati back 2 back. The ability to do this, is really exclusive to the sisters... Serena especially. The girl showed up with no recent match play, and beat two recent #1's.
If Barbara Schett ever manages to shake the chains off her mind... she'd kick Cap's ass coming and going. Leading 5-0 that first set... and lost it 7/5. :rolleyes:
Free your mind and that ass will follow Babs.;)
Mar 6th, 2002, 12:16 PM
Serena certianly can do one thing no one can ever do... come back after a 2 month break and still kick ass and win titles :D :bounce:
Mar 7th, 2002, 02:52 AM
Congrats Serena:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
And thank you :hearts:
Mar 7th, 2002, 08:38 PM
Thursday, March 7, 2002.
For the sake of sister
AS each day goes by, the vindication of Richard Williams (remember him?) goes from one dimension to another.
For the uninitiated and brand new converts of the game of tennis (some call it a vice), Richard is the father, mentor, coach, manager and financial director of Venus and Serena Williams, undisputedly the most successful sisters ever to play professional tennis.
A long time ago, even before any of his daughters won a major tennis tournament, Richard had boasted that they were the best female tennis players in the world. Few believed him, but as the girls stroked on, the world began to notice, though still unbelieving.
Now that each has won at least one Grand Slam title in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, and both had featured in a historic "sisters act" ladies singles final of the last U.S. Open, Richard has gained more believers.
But not many imagined that one day, the world number one ranking could turn out to be a "musical chair" dance game between two sisters. Well, the tennis world had better get prepared for such a "game" sooner than later.
Last Sunday in Arizona, it was younger sister Serena who was on duty while world number one Venus rested her aching knee. It was Serena's first tournament since pulling out injured from the Australian Open six weeks ago, resulting in a period of inactivity which forced her world ranking to nose dive to number nine.
With the world number one crown lying gingerly on big sister Venus's head, Serena went into the final against Jennifer Capriati, the recently displaced world number one, with two missions. After eliminating another former world number one Martina Hingis 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in Saturday's semi-final, Serena found herself needing to defeat Capriati in Sunday's final if her sister Venus was to hold on to her one week old world number one title. Secondly, she needed the victory to improve her own ranking.
So it was double trouble for the reigning Australian champion, Jennifer Capriati. With Serena's deserved 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory and the attending $93,000, Serena jumped three places to world number six, while fending off Capriati's challenge to gain back the world number one from her sister Venus.
So, at least for another week, Venus with 4,790 computer points reigns on as number one, while Capriati lies second with 4,767 points. Following Venus Williams and Capriati are Belgium's Kim Clijsters with 3,695 points, Martina Hingis of Switzerland (3,663 points), Lindsay Davenport of USA (3,567 points) and Serena Williams with 3,209 points.
Serena may be way back at number six right now, while sister Venus leads the pack, but who is to say that the younger Williams would not one day take her expected place in the number two position so that the "musical chair" game could begin in earnest? Richard Williams would want to know.
Mar 8th, 2002, 02:49 AM
Great read, GogoGirl. You're an excellent writer, and I enjoy your articles. Keep it coming.:)
Yes - I can be a little long-winded at times. I love to write my thoughts and feelings down. + I got a Children's book published in hard cover last year. Plan on finishing another manuscript soon and getting it published.
Again - I appreciate your kind words. And I'll try to continue posting articles when I see that no one else posted them first. Have a good un.
Women's game a much better brand of tennis
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (KRT) -- Some dinosaurs may still insist the men's tennis tour has it over the women.
Just pop in a tape of Sunday's State Farm Women's Tennis Classic final between Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati.
In two hours you'll have a convert. Or someone so blinded by prejudice they won't admit the obvious:
The match -- won by Williams, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 -- left 5,374 fans with a killer memory and the men in town this week for the Franklin Templeton Classic an impossible act to follow.
The buzz surrounding women's tennis these days has largely been about the tour's diverse personalities.
The Williams sisters, Serena and Venus. Capriati's remarkable comeback from her lost years as a teenager. The pin-up girl, Anna Kournikova.
The men's tour, on the other hand, is filled with a bunch of guys named Francisco.
Yet there's more to the women than just an interesting profile. (OK, in Kournikova's case, maybe not).
The game they play is far more attractive than the souped-up version played by the men.
Most points in men's matches are over with a blink of an eye. Serve, volley, toss it up again.
The women, though, combine stirring power and brilliant shotmaking. Because their points are longer, drama builds with every swing and each point becomes a life of its own.
Sunday's thrilling final between Capriati and Williams was the smoking gun in the argument.
This was a heavyweight title fight, the two women exchanging haymakers until Williams finally landed the knockout blow, a 112 mph ace on match point.
"It was great for the fans," Williams said.
And what tennis should be about.
The first set was a snoozer. Williams boat-raced Capriati, taking a 5-0 lead in just 12 minutes. But the quality picked up in the second set, and the third set was magic, the women producing string art.
Every point seemed better than the last. Capriati made at least a half-dozen impossible gets, stunning the crowd with her quickness and athleticism.
Each time it looked Capriati was about to take control, though, Williams fought back.
Williams long has been criticized for not taking her tennis seriously enough, but on Sunday, she was, pardon the expression, all man.
After Capriati closed within 3-2, Williams won the sixth game by rifling first serves of 111, 112, 112 and 113 mph.
Oh, and there was a let at 116 mph.
"I do know if I play the way I'm capable of, I can do just about anything," she said.
But here came Capriati, somehow running down one of Williams' bullet forehands and gently hitting a perfect lob to win the seventh game.
"I don't think it could have been any closer in the third set," Capriati said. "We weren't very consistent, but we came up with a lot of great shots."
The tennis was unforgettable. So was the way the women looked.
Williams and Capriati are among the new generation of female athletes: Strong, muscular and feminine.
Williams, in particular, is a sight to behold. The Women's Tennis Association lists Williams at 5-foot-8, 130 pounds.
Williams is 165 pounds if she's an ounce. But her body is a wonder. Some NFL linebackers would kill to have her legs, and her arms are ripped with muscle.
She would have eaten Chris Evert for lunch.
Capriati is the poster girl for modern women athletes. She's not as big or as muscular as Williams, but she's a workout fiend, her marathon Australian Open victory over Martina Hingis in 100-degree heat a testament to her fitness.
Women like Capriati, Williams and Lindsay Davenport are so strong and so quick that they've turned Hingis, long the No. 1 player in the world, into an antique.
As Williams raised her arms in victory Sunday a fan near the court said, "that was unbelievable."
So it was.
You go, girls.
Mar 9th, 2002, 11:45 AM
I didn't realise that some of these articles were written by you gogogirl!
I must say I am very impressed!! You have great talent in writing! :bounce: :kiss:
Mar 9th, 2002, 02:53 PM
Williams_Rulez - I hope no one thinks I wrote any articles. I did not. I assume Ntosake was referring to some posts that I wrote and not the articles I posted.
Thanks anyway mate.
Btw, IMO - there are plenty of terrific writers on this board.