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By ERICA BULMAN
Associated Press Writer


ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) -- Jennifer Capriati made an unconvincing start to her reign as the No. 1 player, needing three sets Wednesday to beat Russian wild card Nadia Petrova at the Swisscom Challenge.

This was her first singles match since she overtook Martina Hingis for the top ranking. Capriati lost in doubles in straight sets in the first round in Zurich.

She showed little intensity against Petrova, winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the second round against a player ranked 46th.

``I played pretty good under the circumstances,'' Capriati said. ``Going out there as the new No. 1, I was able to go out there and put it out of my mind and play my game.''

In the quarterfinals, Capriati will play Russian qualifier Tatiana Panova or Swiss rookie Marie-Gaiane Mikaelian, who downed seventh-seeded Elena Dementieva in the opening round.

In other second-round play, eighth-seeded Silvia Farina Elia of Italy defeated Lisa Raymond 6-2, 6-4.

Following an immensely successful start to the season in which she won the Australian Open and French Open, Capriati became the player to beat.

``I think other players get even more motivated to beat you when you're up there,'' she said.

Petrova broke Capriati's opening serve but Capriati broke back, then again decisively at 4-3. The Russian twice broke serve in the second set to even the match.

In the last set, Capriati regrouped. She swept the first three games and won the match when Petrova sent a forehand long and wide.

``She played tough and I lost my concentration and let it go at the end of the second set, but pulled it back together pretty good in the third,'' Capriati said.
 
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