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Capriati is primed to stop title drought
By Mark Gomez
July 25 2003
STANFORD - Jennifer Capriati last won a singles tournament title 18 months ago, but the 27-year-old still believes she can recapture the world's top ranking.

Capriati won't get a chance to knock off the current No. 1 at the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford -- Serena Williams withdrew one day before play began -- but she welcomes the thought of claiming her first WTA Tour title since last year's Australian Open.

"It's always going to be a boost," seventh-ranked Capriati said. "A win is a win. But I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself. I know how difficult it is."

Capriati, the No. 3 seed, defeated Marion Bartoli 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 on Wednesday at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium and advances to Friday's quarterfinals. She will play the winner of today's match between Angela Haynes and Lisa Raymond.

"If I can mentally stay aggressive and be positive and get back into that mode, that mentality that I should be winning these matches, I definitely think I can still be No. 1," said Capriati, who last held the top ranking in June 2002.

Although the Bank of the West Classic lost some of its luster when both Williams and Lindsay Davenport (ranked No. 5) withdrew at the last minute, Capriati isn't allowing herself to get caught up with which names are competing in which tournaments. (The absence of Williams and Davenport makes a final between Capriati and second-ranked Kim Clijsters the most appealing.)

"You've got to be ready because the newcomers have nothing to lose," Capriati said. "They can come out playing really well. It can happen with any of these youngsters. Maybe you have to be a little bit more prepared."

Bartoli provided Capriati with a scare. After Capriati breezed through the first set with one winning baseline shot after another, Bartoli answered with a more aggressive attitude. Before long the 18-year-old caught fire, breaking Capriati's serve with the set tied at 2-2 and again with a 4-2 lead.

"The second set I played just the right way," Bartoli said. "After the second set she didn't know where I was going to put the ball."

But Capriati took control in the final set, won a crucial point when she was up 2-1 and ended the match with two serves clocked at 105 and 107 mph.

Capriati, who finished the 2002 season ranked third behind sisters Serena and Venus Williams, has played well during the past 12 months, reaching one tournament final and five consecutive semifinals.

"I think I'm playing the best tennis so far this year," Capriati said.

Fifth-seeded Jelena Dokic also won her second-round match, defeating Alexandra Stevenson 6-3, 6-2. Stevenson later withdrew from the doubles competition because of a strained right shoulder suffered during the singles match.

"We always have tough matches," Dokic told The Associated Press. "She served well at the beginning but I was very focused. I didn't let up."

In another second-round match, Amy Frazier upset fourth-seeded Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-4.

Seventh-seeded Eleni Daniilidou beat Tina Pisnik 6-1, 6-2 in a first-round match and will meet Francesca Schiavone in the second round.




• FIRST ROUND: Eleni Daniilidou (7) def. Tina Pisnik 6-1, 6-2; Angela Haynes def. Rita Grande 6-3, 6-4; Lisa Raymond (9) def. Cho Yoon-jeong 7-5, 5-7, 6-2; Meghann Shaughnessy def. Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-1

• SECOND ROUND: Jennifer Capriati (3) def. Marion Bartoli 6-2, 4-6, 6-1; Jelena Dokic (5) def. Alexandra Stevenson 6-3, 6-2; Amy Frazier def. Daniela Hantuchova (4), 6-2, 6-4


• FIRST ROUND: Maria-Gaianeh Mikaelian/Julia Vakulenko def. Patricia Tarabini/Caroline Vis 6-3, 7-5; Shaughnessy/Rennae Stubbs def. Christina Fusano/Raquel Kops-Jones 6-2, 6-3; Bartoli/Alina Jidkova def. Aneta Soukup-Zahalk/Tara Snyder 6-4, 6-3


Day session (noon start)

• STADIUM COURT: Hayes vs. Raymond; followed by Shaughnessy vs. Mikaelian; Cara Black/Raymond vs. Capriati/Daniela Hantuchova

• COURT 7: Eleni Daniilidou vs. Francesca Schiavone; then not before 2 p.m., Alina Jidkova vs. Maria Vento-Kabchi; after suitable rest if necessary Yoon Jeong/Schiavone vs. Bartoli/Jidkova

Night session (7:30 start)

• STADIUM COURT: Amber Liu vs. Kim Clijsters, followed by Teryn Ashley/Abigail Spears vs. Shaughnessy/Stubbs

1,053 Posts
Come one Jen - there seems to be a wave of support amongst everyone for you to claim your first title in 18 months, you can do it!!

1,747 Posts
very positive article!!! :)
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