Tennis: Double success for Capriati

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JENNIFER CAPRIATI defeated two seeded players, Cara Black and Nathalie Tauziat, at the Strasbourg Open yesterday to claim her place in the semi-finals. Her American countrywoman, Mary Joe Fernandez, also won two matches at the rain-affected tournament to reach the last four.

Capriati, 23, beat the No 6 seed Black 7-6, 6-4, before thrashing Tauziat, the No 1 seed, 6-1, 6-0, in a quarter-final.

Capriati's reward in today's semi-final is a meeting with an unseeded player, the qualifier Denise Chladkova of the Czech Republic, who also won two matches yesterday. First she beat Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, before overcoming the third seed, Japan's Ai Sugiyama 7- 6, 6-2.

The other semi-final will be between the unseeded Fernandez and the No 2 seed, Elena Likhovtseva of Russia, who defeated the fifth seed, Corina Morariu of the United States, 6-4, 6-4. Fernandez beat Stephanie Foretz of France, 7-5, 6-1, and then Nathalie Dechy, 7-5, 6-3.

Martina Hingis has identified the American Venus Williams as her main rival for the French Open title even though she herself will start as favourite.

"Venus will be my leading rival," Hingis said. "I rate myself as one of the favourites but not as the favourite."