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Behind the Lines
Josh Denuta
Ball Shyte Sports
September 3rd 2003.


_________________________________________________

Jennifer Capriati was in no mood to become embroiled in a lengthy pre-match analysis of her potential upcoming quarerfinal against Japanese baseliner, Ai Sugiyama. After completing her fourth round match against Elena Dementieva of Russia 12 hours after it started, Capriati reacted snappily when asked how she viewed the match. With a bold tone to her voice, reminisent of Holywood starlet Greta Garbo, Capriati claimed that she was already looking forward to her semi-final match. "Sugiyama's just a third-rate Amanda Coetzer. Lots of powder puff and not a lot of punch. She's peaked at 12 in the world and even then is overranked. I'll sweep her aside in straights and head on down to Perry's". Sugiyama stands just one game away from victory against Italian Francesca Schiavone.

Meanwhile, Alexandra Stevenson, daughter of sportswriter Samantha Stevenson, claimed that her mother's dedication was the crucial factor in her successful transition from promising rookie to dependable top-20 pro. "You only have to look at my results to see I'm a lot more consistent nowadays. The other girls fear playing me. You can't win every match, like today's against Loit, but you have to expect that outcome if you don't play your best. Mom has been helping me a lot to be steady throughout the matches. In the past I'd spray the ball, and not play smart. Now you see that I play the big points better than anyone else. And that shows in my results. I'll be holding the trophy next year". Stevenson is 6-16 in 2003.

Finally, let's raise a hand for Justine Henin-Hardenne. The popular Belgian was assessing the field ahead of the highly-anticipated clash against the winner of the Myskina-Pierce match. "For sure I'm the toughest player on tour at the moment. Everybody fears playing me. My backhand is for sure the best in the game, and I've worked on my serve and forehand. Nobody can return my serves, and even Steffi Graf knows my forehand is the best for sure". Despite her confidence, Henin-Hardenne noted some of the darker moments on tour. "It's tough when you keep winning the Slams and other big tournaments. The other girls, for sure, want to beat you, and that can be quite difficult to handle. I guess, for sure, that when you keep winning, it's an occupational hazard". She also expressed reservations when asked about her next round opponent: "Mary used to win a lot way back when, and Myskina's doing well to try to break into the top-10. Both are okay players, so it won't be easy for sure, but it's never easy to play the best tennis ever. That's why I'm so pleased to have managed to play sublimely throughout the last couple of years, because it's so tough that nobody else has managed it".

Stay tuned!
 
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