Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Capriati outlasts Dementieva at Indian Wells

Safin opens with win

By Ken Peters
The Associated Press

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport each won their fourth-round matches, and Marat Safin began the men's competition Monday in the Pacific Life Open with a victory.

The second-seeded Capriati outlasted Elena Dementieva 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. No. 4 Davenport defeated Elena Bovina 6-4, 6-3.

No. 7 Safin, whose accomplishments include a memorable victory over Pete Sampras in the 2000 U.S. Open, defeated Stefan Koubek 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Afternoon temperatures reached the mid-90s at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, with officials declaring a 10-minute break to give Capriati and Dementieva a chance to get out of the heat between the second and third sets.

Capriati, whose 13 career tour titles include three Grand Slam events, lost just four games in her third-round victory over Denisa Chladkova, but was inconsistent in her win over Dementieva.

However, the 26-year-old Capriati was able to win the match by pouncing on the 21-year-old Russian's weak second serve, which usually was in the low 70 mph range or slower, and had little spin on it.

"I think she had a little problem with her serve," Capriati said. "She doesn't usually serve like that. I think that was forcing her to hit groundstrokes so hard."

Capriati said Dementieva kept her on the run with those groundstrokes in the second set.

"I sort of let her play and I kind of got tired, because I was just letting her run me around everywhere," Capriati said. "In the third set, I went back to my tactic, which was being aggressive and moving her around."

Then Davenport kept Bovina moving side to side with hard groundstrokes down the lines in the evening match, when temperatures had dropped into the 70s.

Safin, a 23-year-old from Moscow, is working his way back from injury. He tore ligaments in his left wrist in Sydney and was sidelined for a month.

After losing the first set to Koubek, he came back to take the second, then had to fight back after losing the first three games of the third.

"I knew I had a chance because he cannot play that type of game for a long time," Safin said. "Toward the end of the match, he probably will miss all those shots, and he did. Then he started to play a little bit slower. He was not going for too much and he was missing.

"So that's how I won. I stayed in there."

The men's top seed, defending champion Lleyton Hewitt, opens play Tuesday against Younes El Aynaoui.

Women's No. 1 Kim Clijsters faces Nathalie Dechy in a fourth-round match.

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Capriati outlasts Dementieva at Indian Wells

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