Serena Williams overcame an erratic start on Tuesday to beat Jennifer Capriati for the eighth consecutive time, winning 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. Defending champion Williams could next face Justine Henin-Hardenne, an upset winner in their French Open semifinal four weeks ago. Henin-Hardenne was to play Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final women's quarterfinal. At one point midway through her match, Williams had committed 20 unforced errors to four for Capriati. But Williams gradually became more patient and steady, winning one rally that lasted 28 strokes, and she swept seven consecutive games to take the lead for good. Williams joined her older sister in the semifinals. Venus Williams, the Wimbledon champion in 2000 and 2001, won the final five games and the last 11 points to beat Lindsay Davenport 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.
Venus dropped a set for the first time in the tournament but still improved to 25-1 at Wimbledon over the past four years. Her opponent in the semifinals on Thursday will be No 2-seeded Kim Clijsters, who rallied past No 27 Silvia Farina Elia 5-7, 6-0, 6-1.
If you get this far, you have to be doing something right," said Venus, seeded No 4. "I'll just have to keep on with the same things." "
In the completion of a fourth-round match suspended Monday night because of darkness, No 13-seeded Sebastien Grosjean beat French Open winner Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3).
Ferrero's defeat leaves the men's quarterfinals with no former Grand Slam champion. Grosjean will play No 10 Tim Henman on Wednesday.
The No 8-seeded Capriati started fast, moving well and keeping her opponent deep. She broke for a 2-1 lead, then again when Williams committed three consecutive unforced errors to make it 5-2.
But Williams began to find the range with her serve and groundstrokes. Beginning at 2-2 in the second set, Williams turned dominant, winning that set and racing to a 3-0 in the next.
Capriati made one last charge. She won a 31-shot rally and held serve to trail 5-3, then had two break points in the next game. But Williams erased them and closed out the victory with a backhand volley that Capriati couldn't handle.
A jubilant Williams shrieked and raised her arms. It's the fourth time in a row that Capriati has lost to Williams after winning the first set. Capriati last beat Williams in the 2001 Wimbledon quarterfinals.
Venus Williams led her match 2-0 in the first set when play was suspended for 1 hour, 22 minutes because of rain. The No 5-seeded Davenport won the first two games when the match resumed, before Williams regained control and won four games in a row to take the set.
Three times in the set Williams held at love. She was broken in the opening game of the second set, however, and Davenport staged a rally thanks to excellent serving. With three consecutive service winners in the final game of the set, she evened the match.
"Lindsay played so well, and I just had to stay on my toes the whole match," Williams said. "I just kept searching for the answers."
But the 1999 champion couldn't recover after she lost her serve to fall behind 3-1 in the final set. She hasn't beaten Williams since 2000 and trails the rivalry 12-10.
Clijsters dropped a set for the first time in the tournament against Farina Elia, then won nine consecutive games to take control. She closed the win with three aces in the final game.
"I just had to find my footwork," said Clijsters, the French Open runner-up. "I felt like I wasn't moving as well as I have been. Once I found it I started playing very well." (AP)
Topics : Tennis