Top women's seeds nearly all grow up

Rain delays No. 3 Capriati

seventh seed Dokic upset

July 02, 2002|By Bill Glauber | Bill Glauber,SUN FOREIGN STAFF

WIMBLEDON, England - For a few hours yesterday, Wimbledon's women's tournament was unfurling in its usually predictable manner.

Venus and Serena Williams each won easily, Monica Seles and Justine Henin of Belgium cruised to their quarterfinal confrontation and France's Amelie Mauresmo extinguished the splendid run of qualifier Laura Granville.

But then, things got interesting.

No. 11 seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, a rising star seeking a breakthrough, upset No. 7 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia, 6-4, 7-5, putting away the third of her match points with a shaky forehand that clipped the net.

"I have to say, it's one of my biggest wins," Hantuchova said.

And then, No. 3 Jennifer Capriati found herself in an unexpectedly tight contest against unseeded Eleni Daniilidou of Greece. Capriati won the first set, 6-1, and lost the second, 3-6, before darkness halted play. The match will resume today.

While few expect anything other than a Williams vs. Williams final, the women's draw began to bubble to life.

In today's quarterfinals, No. 1 Venus Williams, who defeated Lisa Raymond, 6-1, 6-2, will meet Russia's Elena Likhovtseva, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Bulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva.

Venus Williams is using a dash of total recall in a bid to win a third straight Wimbledon.

"I'm just trying to remember where I was at last year and the year before mentally," she said. "That's what I try to focus on, try to be the same person that I was those past two years."

No. 4 Seles and No. 6 Henin will meet in today's other quarterfinal match. Seles had no problem defeating Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand, 6-2, 6-2. Henin prevailed against Russia's Elena Dementieva, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5).

To maintain competitive balance, the other quarterfinals were pushed back. Mauresmo awaits the winner of the Capriati match, and Hantuchova will meet No. 2 Serena Williams, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Chanda Rubin.

The biggest problem Serena Williams seemed to have was dashing off the court during a rain delay. Someone asked her if she was almost swallowed by the tarp pulled across the court by overzealous groundskeepers.

"I'm a survivor," she said. "I made it to another day."

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