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tennisIlove09
May 10th, 2003, 08:34 PM
Clijsters vs. Henin-Hardenne in Berlin final


May 10, 2003

AP - May 10, 1:11 pm EDT
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BERLIN (AP) -- Kim Clijsters beat Jennifer Capriati 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-4 Saturday, setting up an all-Belgian final with defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne.

Clijsters overtook Venus Williams for the No. 2 ranking and trails only Serena Williams, the WTA said.

Henin-Hardenne defeated Amelie Mauresmo of France 7-6 (6), 6-4 in the other semifinal of this clay-court tuneup for the French Open.

Clijsters has beaten Henin-Hardenne seven of 11 times, including both matches this season.

``She's been playing really well for the past year, but I've been playing well too,'' Henin-Hardenne said. ``For sure it's very special with two Belgian players in the final. But I want to concentrate on my own game.''

Clijsters defeated Capriati for the first time in four career matches. Capriati beat the Belgian in the final of the 2001 French Open.

Capriati needed treatment for her for lower back after the second set. In the final set, Clijsters pulled ahead 3-1 but Capriati broke serve twice in a row to lead 4-3.

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``I thought maybe at that point that I had it,'' Capriati said. ``She started to make a few mistakes, but I lost a bit of energy on that game. She got the momentum back and I got a little tired.''

Clijsters broke to wrap up the match in the 10th game. She converted the first of three match points when Capriati netted a backhand, ending the match in 2 hours, 16 minutes.

``I wish I could have finished it quicker than I did,'' Clijsters said.


Updated o

tennisIlove09
May 10th, 2003, 08:34 PM
Sweet revenge for Clijsters over Capriati
Sat May 10,12:40 PM ET


BERLIN (AFP) - Kim Clijsters gained revenge over Jennifer Capriati for her loss in the historic French Open (news - web sites) final of 2001 by winning a semi-final thriller at the 1.2-million-dollar WTA event here.


AFP Photo



The top-seeded Belgian beat the American former world number one 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4 in two and a quarter hours of see-sawing struggle on Saturday, reversing the result in Paris two years ago when Clijsters lost 12-10 in the longest ever final set of a French Open final.


Clijsters beat Capriati for the first time and, although there was very little in it, both the performance and the result indicated how the 19-year-old has improved, particularly with her court coverage, her strength, and her ability to choose the right shot.


However the match also suggested that to progress further Clijsters may have to overcome her inhibitions about closing out a big match, because she failed to convert four match points in the second set, and afterwards looked like losing.


Two of the match points came at 5-3 in the second set and two of them at 5-4, both on her serve, and one of them was frittered away with a double fault. For a while it influenced the mood of the match for Clijsters played an indifferent tie-break, losing it 7/2.


However the contest was usually of a very high standard, with some rousing exchanges from the baseline, and a determination by both women to get the telling blow in first.


Clijsters looked the more secure in the forecourt on the few occasions when either woman got there, but Capriati characteristically took heart from having saved the match points, and played better as the match went on.


She took an injury time-out and received treatment on court between the second and third sets for some lower back stiffness, but although she went 1-3 down after that, she again made a fine recovery, eventually breaking serve to lead 4-3.


Capriati then advanced to within a point of 5-3 on her serve at which stage the match appeared to have turned her way. However there then came am astonishing rally which turned the contest.


Capriati attacked superbly, forcing a desperate Clijsters retrieve which landed short and slow in the forecourt, but, trying to angle it away too sharply, Capriati put it into the tramlines.


"She retrieves a lot of balls and it puts you under pressure when you are trying to knock these balls away," explained Capriati. "It was pretty important because only a couple of points decided the match."


That made the score deuce and Clijsters went on to break back for 4-4, before holding serve for 5-4, and when Capriati served to stay in the match, she did not win a point. The momentum change was sudden, decisive and spectacular.


"I knew that I had never beaten her and that's what motivated me most," said Clijsters. "I think I can play at a high standard for longer in a match, which is the biggest difference between me now and how I was in the French Open final.


"I am very pleased with this result, but I could have finished it a little bit quicker, having had those match points. It's a mental sport to a great extent. If you make mistakes you have to try to forget what went wrong and focus only on the positive things.


Clijsters will play her compatriot Justine Henin-Hardenne in the final knowing that she will regain the world number two position from Venus Williams (news - web sites) on Monday whatever the result.


Henin, the titleholder, came through with a 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 win over Amelie Mauresmo, the former finalist from France, although the standard of this semi-final was more variable.


Henin was set point down at 5-6 in the tie-break, which she saved with a fine counter-hitting forehand and she showed the excellence of her all-court skills by working her way forward and closing out the first set with a sharply anticipated backhand volley.





But although both women had their moments with their flamboyant top-spinning from both wings and the match was peppered with fine shots, there was too much inconsistency on important points for the contest really to catch fire.

"It's difficult because she has the same style as me," reckoned Henin. "We were both hitting the ball hard and I had to think a lot about what I should do. But I stayed calm when I had to.

"It's great that Kim and I are in this final. For a little country this is a very special thing."

Clijsters has won the last three encounters between the Belgian compatriots, but the last time they faced each other on clay, in Rome a year ago, Henin was the winner.

tennisIlove09
May 10th, 2003, 08:35 PM
Clijsters Breaks Capriati Jinx to Reach Final
Sat May 10, 1:08 PM ET Add Sports - Reuters to My Yahoo!


By Patrick Vignal

BERLIN (Reuters) - Top seed Kim Clijsters beat Jennifer Capriati for the first time on Saturday with a spectacular 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 victory to set up an all-Belgian final at the German Open.


Reuters Photo


AP Photo
Slideshow: Jennifer Capriati




The combative 19-year-old, who had lost her previous three encounters with the former world No. 1, including their memorable 2001 French Open (news - web sites) final, will meet compatriot Justine Henin-Hardenne on Sunday.


Defending champion Henin-Hardenne's 7-6, 6-4 win over France's Amelie Mauresmo was a close affair but the match of the day was definitely the other semifinal.


By reaching the final Clijsters made sure of regaining the world number two spot she lost this week to Venus Williams (news - web sites), who pulled out of the Berlin tournament with a stomach injury.


Clijsters served for the match twice in the second set but Capriati refused to bow out, surviving four match points before winning the set in a tiebreak.


The decisive set was tight until fourth-seeded Capriati double faulted to present Clijsters with three more match points and then hit a backhand into the net on the first after two hours and 17 minutes of entertaining tennis.


"Having never beaten her was an extra motivation," said Clijsters. "My legs were hurting but I just kept going."


It all came down to a few points and both players suggested they could do damage at the French Open starting on May 26.


Capriati beat Clijsters 1-6, 6-4, 12-10 in the final in Paris two years ago after the longest third set in the history of the event.


EASY POINTS


"Kim played really great but I definitely could have won," Capriati said. "I missed easy points and you can't do that against a top player."


Henin-Hardenne, the third seed who moved into the second spot in the draw after Venus Williams withdrew, had wasted a match point before she triumphed in just under two hours.


Mauresmo, the fifth seed and 2001 German Open champion, squandered a set point in the first-set tiebreak and had chances in the second as well but Henin-Hardenne showed more composure when it mattered.


"It's great for a small country like Belgium to have two players in the final," said Henin-Hardenne.


The Belgian pair have met 11 times with Clijsters leading 7-4.


"I don't want think to about the final now," said Clijsters, looking both relieved and exhausted. "What I'm thinking about is that I need some sleep."

tennisIlove09
May 10th, 2003, 08:35 PM
Clijsters Tops Capriati in German Semis
Sat May 10,12:38 PM ET


BERLIN - Kim Clijsters beat Jennifer Capriati 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-4 Saturday to reach the German Open final and gain the No. 2 ranking.


AP Photo


Reuters Photo
Slideshow: Jennifer Capriati




Clijsters overtook Venus Williams (news - web sites) and trails only No. 1 Serena Williams (news - web sites), the WTA said.


The top-seeded Clijsters will play for the title of this clay-court tuneup for the French Open (news - web sites) against defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne, who beat Amelie Mauresmo of France 7-6 (6), 6-4 to set up the all-Belgian final.


Clijsters has won seven of the 11 meetings with Henin-Hardenne, including both matches this season.


Clijsters defeated Capriati for the first time in four career matches. Capriati beat the Belgian in the final of the 2001 French Open.


In the final set of the semifinal, Clijsters pulled ahead 3-1. But Capriati broke serve twice in a row to take a 4-3 lead.


"I thought maybe at that point that I had it. She started to make a few mistakes. But I lost a bit of energy on that game. She got the momentum back and I got a little tired," Capriati said.


Clijsters broke serve to wrap up the match in the 10th game of the final set. She converted the first of three match points when Capriati netted a backhand, ending the match in 2 hours, 16 minutes.


"I wish I could have finished it quicker than I did," Clijsters said.