Venus Williams to face Capriati

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The Independent Online

Home town girl Jennifer Capriati will have the chance to break an historic Williams sisters double act at the US Open.

Capriati powered into her first US Open semi–final for 10 years with a hard–hitting display of precision tennis against Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo.

Tennis' comeback girl, born in New York and who completed her journey from teenage rebel to queen of the court when she won the Australian and French Open titles this season, defeated Mauresmo 6–3 6–4 to book that semi spot against reigning champion Venus Williams.

Capriati broke the Mauresmo serve in the seventh game and went on to take the first set in just 27 minutes.

The second set was much tougher as Mauresmo found the range on her own huge forehand and cut down on the unforced errors.

But, with Arthur Ashe stadium filling up for the clash of tennis legends Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi to follow, Capriati stepped up another gear to finish it off with a break in the 10th game when Mauresmo dumped a forehand into the net. It had taken just 63 minutes.

"I knew everyone wanted to see the next match so I just wanted to finish it as fast as I could," said Capriati, who like Venus has yet to lose a set in this tournament.

"I lost to Amelie on clay this summer so I had to be aggressive, keep my concentration and stay focused. I played pretty well and didn't make many mistakes."

On the chance to break the Williams dream she said: "Venus is going to be tough but we're both playing well. I just hope to come out and play my best tennis."

Venus had earlier disposed of Kim Clijsters in a disappointing quarter–final 6–3 6–1 and then spoken of her match–up with Capriati.

"I believe it will be a good, tough match," said Williams. "She's a strong player, she does everything well, hits the ball hard. Nowadays I don't really try to hit every ball hard any more. I think maybe I don't have as much pace on every shot as she does."

She also admitted that it was a 14–year–old reaching the semi–final of the French Open and the quarter–final here in 1990 which was part of her inspiration for taking up the game.

"The fans have always loved her from the very beginning, from when she hit her first ball," said Williams. "I remember I was like a baby but I was following it too when she hit her first ball.

"Everyone has been following her story. They feel like they watched her grow up. So she has a strong fan base. They really come out for her and want her to win."