By ANDREW DAMPF
Associated Press Writer
May 17, 2002
ROME (AP) -- Jennifer Capriati beat France's Amelie Mauresmo 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 Friday to reach the semifinals of the Italian Open and regain the No. 1 ranking.
Capriati recovered from 0-2 in the third set and passed Mauresmo at the net after a long rally on match point to reach the Italian semifinals for the first time.
The second-seeded Capriati moved past Venus Williams in the rankings. Williams pulled out of the tournament with a wrist injury.
``Usually I don't play good tennis here,'' Capriati said. ``I let her back in the match. After dominating the first set, I lost concentration in the second. In the third set maybe I played better on the important points.''
Capriati, who beat Mary Pierce 6-0, 6-0 in just 34 minutes in the third round, plays the winner of Friday night's match between Serena Williams and Anastasia Myskina of Russia.
In other quarterfinal matches, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin advanced to set up an all-Belgian semifinal at the Foro Italico.
Clijsters beat France's Sandrine Testud 6-1, 6-3, and Henin defeated qualifier Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-3, 6-4.
The 18-year-old Clijsters, ranked No. 3, took a 4-3 lead in the second set after Testud struggled with her ball toss and double faulted. Testud double faulted again on match point.
``I tried to be aggressive on her service games, and it helped.'' said Clijsters, who has beaten Henin twice this season.
Henin, coming off a victory at German Open, used a strong baseline game and a well-disguised backhand drop-shot to recover from a 3-0 deficit in the first set.
``I wasn't really in the match at the beginning,'' the fifth-seeded Henin said. ``I never played her, and I didn't know what she was trying to do against me. I was sleeping a little bit.''
Also Friday, 45-year-old Martina Navratilova and Natasha Zvereva lost in doubles to Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez 6-2, 6-1.
Serena Williams swaggers into the quarterfinals certain she can beat anyone on the other side of the net without much problem.
``I can take a three-month break and win a tournament,'' she said. ``So it doesn't really matter.''
Williams, seeded fourth, routed the Czech Republic's Denisa Chladkova 6-1, 6-2 in the third round Thursday.
Williams has reached the quarterfinals in Rome four times in four attempts but has never made the semifinals.
Myskina upset defending champion Jelena Dokic 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. She exploited the slow pace of the clay court, countering the Yugoslav's power.
``She plays of course faster than me, so today I tried to play more smarter ... sometimes with top spin, sometimes a drop shot,'' Myskina said.
In their only previous match, Williams beat Myskina in two sets in the first round of an indoor tournament in Moscow in 1997.