Sunday, November 10, 2002

Serena Williams, Capriati advance to WTA semis



By Beth Harris
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - Once Serena Williams got warmed up, Jelena Dokic had no chance against the world's No. 1 player.

Williams overcame a 4-1 deficit in the first set and beat the eighth-seeded Dokic 7-6 (1), 6-0 in the quarterfinals of the season-ending WTA Championships on Saturday night.

Williams will play No. 3 Jennifer Capriati in Sunday's semifinals at Staples Center. No. 2 Venus Williams goes against fifth-seeded Kim Clijsters for the other spot in Monday night's final of the $3 million tournament.

"I feel great. I'm just getting started," said Serena Williams, who donned her sleek black catsuit for the first time since the U.S. Open. She's now 5-0 in the daring outfit.

Williams won her 17th consecutive match and is two victories away from defending the title she won a year ago in Germany.

Dokic said she was hobbled by a sprained right ankle that she injured earlier in the week and nearly didn't play.

"I was good enough to play a set or two, but against Serena you have to be 100 percent," she said. "I had trouble moving."

Dokic broke Williams once in taking a 4-1 lead before Williams won three straight games to tie the set at 4-all. They stayed on serve to force the tiebreaker and Dokic double-faulted to lose the set.

"I couldn't have asked for a better first set. I could have won it," Dokic said.

Williams committed many of her 17 unforced errors early in the first set.

"I wasn't attacking my shots and I let her dictate play," she said. "I let other people get ahead and I quickly come and pass them."

The announced attendance of 6,559 for the evening matches was the highest of the week, although the 20,000-seat arena was far from full. The afternoon total appeared about half of the 4,788 that was announced.

Capriati, feeling fresh and motivated while most of her opponents are worn out, defeated Magdalena Maleeva 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.

Most of the 16 players in the final tournament of the year have complained about fatigue, citing the abundance of tournaments (67) and worldwide travel during a season they complain is too long.

"I'm going to say the same thing as everyone else. I'm really tired and my shoulder is tired," Maleeva said. "I don't have any speed in my arm. I just couldn't get pumped up."

Asked how she could be tired when $2.3 million in singles prize money is at stake, the Bulgarian snapped, "Oh, come on, you can be, believe me."

Maleeva, who earned $99,000 in defeat, concluded her best season in six years. She was coming off her title win in Moscow, where she beat Venus Williams, Amelie Mauresmo and Lindsay Davenport, and a runner-up finish in Luxembourg.

"That's why I'm tired," she said. "I wouldn't be tired if I didn't have those results."

Capriati, however, feels just the opposite.

"I'm motivated to be here. I've got nothing to lose," she said. "I feel fresh because I didn't play that well in Europe. I was home for a week and recharged my batteries."

In beating Maleeva, whom she hasn't lost to in six years, Capriati won only her third match since the U.S. Open. She suffered three losses, including two against Alexandra Stevenson, during indoor tournaments in Europe last month.

Capriati won eight of first nine points against Maleeva, then lost 10 of the next 12, and won 10 of the following 12 to wrap up the first set 6-2.

There were five consecutive service breaks in the second set, which Capriati won despite being broken in the final game.

She broke Maleeva to open the third - the match's sixth straight break - and then held for a 2-0 lead. Capriati broke Maleeva four times in the final set, winning on her first match point when the Bulgarian's forehand landed beyond the baseline.

Capriati's only tournament win this year was the Australian Open in January. In between Melbourne and Los Angeles came mostly forgettable results in 14 events.

"It would be great," she said about the possibility of winning the season-ending championship. "It would be like winning the first one and winning the last one. Who cares what happens in between, you know?"

Capriati plans to have eye surgery next week for a condition that is aggravated by being out in the sun. It'll be her second surgery since having her vision corrected a few years ago.

"The doctor actually explained it the best way by saying it's like a windshield wiper, the glass is not clear, it's never going to be clear," she said. "I identified it a few years ago. I guess they're getting worse. That's why I'm having it done."




BENGALS / NFL
Ravens 38, Bengals 27
Blake empathizes with former mates
Bengals' defense will need to step up once again
The Edge
Isolation booth: Johnson vs. Demps
Levi: Life as a Rookie
Bengals, Ravens stats
Bengals-Ravens by the numbers
NFL notebook, standings
Are you ready for some Monday Night Football history?
Curnutte's NFL power rankings

UC BEARCATS
Sloppy UC still slams NKU
Daugherty: Wrath - not grapes - seems more Huggins' style
Center position still work in progress
UC women win C-USA soccer crown

XAVIER HOOPS
Cole ponders redshirt season
XU women win exhibition

REDS / BASEBALL
Bowden mum regarding free agent wish list
Reds Q & A
Phils set to spend on Thome

OHIO FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Elder, Colerain at Nippert Saturday
Where to buy football tickets
Elder 31, Wayne 3
Colerain 28, Lebanon 7
Ohio scores | Ohio pairings
Fans enjoy atmosphere at Paul Brown Stadium
Kings 36, Edgewood 19
Reading 41, Coldwater 38

KENTUCKY FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Kentucky scores | Kentucky pairings
CovCath 54, Harrison Co. 6
Beechwood 55, Fairview 7
Boone Co. 34, Oldham Co. 28
Dixie Heights 43, Lou. Ballard 41
Eastern 22, Conner 7
Highlands 56, Anderson Co. 0
Holy Cross 35, Nicholas Co. 14
Lex. Catholic 52, Holmes 20
Lloyd 51, East Carter 20
Louisville Trinity 48, Ryle 9
NewCath 57, Paris 14
Russell 31, Newport 14
Scott 53, Bourbon Co. 22

INDIANA FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
East Central 38, Whiteland 30


OHIO VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Ursuline unseats St. Ursula as Div. I champs
GGCL players rule all-state team

OHIO SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
St. Ursula loses soccer final
Wyoming girls denied soccer title
Madeira boys win state title

KENTUCKY CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
St. Henry boys take cross country title
Highlands girls run to state title

PREP INSIDER COLUMN
Prep Insider: Late coach was ahead of his time


COLLEGE FOOTBALL
With backs to wall, Buckeyes battle to 11-0
Hail Mary heave halts fun for UK
Bowen corners market at Miami
Huskies stun BGSU, take first in division
Mount St. Joseph thumped by undefeated Hanover 49-14
Miami crushes Vols
Texas shows Baylor some attitude
Texas A&M ruins party for Sooners
Irish escape Navy
Syracuse topples No. 8 Virginia Tech in 3OT
Big Ten roundup
Top 25 roundup
How the Top 25 fared
College Football Today

COLLEGE HOOPS
Hoops: Big matchups come early, often
Dayton player's parents don't believe son lied

REGIONAL INTERESTS
MSJ football finally growling
Five questions with Brandon Miree
Enquirer Page Two power rankings

NATIONAL HEADLINES
Dredge leads Volvo Masters
Mighty Ducks blank Barons
Kolzig slams door on Flyers
Second-half scoring surge lifts Pacers over Raptors
Women's soccer: U.S. 2, Canada 1
Serena Williams, Capriati advance to WTA semis
Will Fittipaldi be first of new wave of drivers?
Stewart on cusp of Cup title