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Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Defending champion Jennifer Capriati fought her way into the Australian Open quarter-finals today, beating determined Rita Grande 6-3, 7-6 (9).

The match ended with a double fault, the 10th point against service in the final 11 in the tiebreaker. At 9-9, the players were so caught up with the match that they forgot to change ends.

"It was a tough way to end the match, and I was sorry for her. But thanks for that," Capriati said of the final double fault.

Capriati will face seventh-seeded Amelie Mauresmo in the quarter-finals. Mauresmo struggled to beat Marlene Weingartner 6-0, 4-6, 7-5.

Sixth-seeded Justine Henin, the Wimbledon runner-up, advanced to a possible quarter-final meeting with Belgian compatriot Kim Clijsters, the French Open runner-up and No. 4 seed. Henin beat No. 12 Elena Dementieva 6-0, 6-3.

Henin's and Mauresmo's matches were delayed by rain in the second sets before the roofs on the two main stadiums were closed.

Capriati squandered her first match point with three errors while serving at 5-4 in the second set.

Grande, ranked No. 29, then missed a chance to take the set when she netted an overhead smash at 6-5 in the tiebreaker. She lost another chance at 8-7 when Capriati hit a winning backhand serve return.

Capriati laughed off a netted backhand volley on her second match point, at 7-6, and missed another chance with a lob too long at 9-8. She gained her final match point when Grande hit a forehand wide.

"She played really well, and especially toward the end she really picked up her game and wasn't missing at all," Capriati said.

The 19-year-old Henin whipped backhands that kept Dementieva on the run, and set up frequent chances to put away shots from the net. Dementieva, a U.S. Open semifinalist in 2000, was forced into frequent errors.

"I'm happy," Henin said. "I was a little bit afraid of this match. She's a young and tough player. ... I went to the net. I was really aggressive. I'm in good form for sure."

Henin will face compatriot Kim Clijsters who beat Janette Husarova 6-0, 6-2.

Henin's quick victory followed more rapid wins yesterday by Venus Williams and Martina Hingis.

Williams, trying to win her third straight Grand Slam event and fifth overall, reached the quarter-finals with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over 13th-seeded Magdalena Maleeva. Williams will face four-time Australian Open champion Monica Seles.

Hingis beat No. 15 Amanda Coetzer 6-1, 6-0 in 44 minutes to set up a match with unseeded Adriana Serra Zanetti.
 
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