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'91 semifinal rematch:Capriati falls to Seles

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 4, 2000


NEW YORK -- Jennifer Capriati says her epic 1991 U.S. Open semifinal loss to Monica Seles is ancient history. She also says the constant references to it annoy her.

By this point, so must the prospect of playing Seles at all.

The sixth-seeded Seles eliminated the 15th-seeded Capriati 6-3, 6-4 from the Open's fourth round for the second straight year.

Unlike 1991, Sunday's match was not a classic.

At that time, Capriati had made a surprising run to the fourth round and was exhausted by discussion of her troubled past.

This time, Capriati simply lost in straight sets to a player who serves and scrambles a little better. The two were intense, as shown by their several disputes of line calls. But this was not '91, the year a 17-year-old Seles beat a 15-year-old Capriati in a third-set tiebreaker and went on to win the Open.

"It's just kind of like everyone was expecting it to be the epic match of '91," Capriati said. "I mean, that's history. That's long ago. Now it's a new day and age. I mean, it's just completely different now."

What hasn't changed is Seles' superiority.

While she hasn't beaten the WTA Tour's top four players -- Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Venus Williams and Mary Pierce -- this season, the sixth-ranked Seles hasn't lost to anyone ranked beneath her.

Seles broke Capriati's first service game in each set, then held on in both to win.

"I knew it would be a really tough match today," Seles said. "Thank goodness I started off really well."

The points and games throughout the match were close, but Seles was able to put Capriati in difficult positions with her serve -- even though Seles had just two aces. Seles also blocked Capriati's big baseline shots back a little better. She extended a break point that way on Capriati's first service game of the second set, and Capriati eventually hit a ball wide to drop the game.

"From the beginning, she came out really strong from the first ball," Capriati said. "She was just hitting them full speed."

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