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  Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Capriati's Grand plan on track
Jennifer Capriati
Capriati came back from a set and two breaks down
Jennifer Capriati (US) beat Serena Williams (US) 6-7 7-5 6-3.

Comeback Queen Jennifer Capriati completed another remarkable turnaround to advance into the semi-finals of Wimbledon.

The French and Australian Open champion, who is gunning for the Grand Slam had to battle back from a set and two breaks down against Serena Williams to keep her dream alive.

In a topsy turvy match, littered with early errors and visit by the trainer to both players, Capriati eventually won it with her now well-known ability to keep her cool.


To have come back and won a match like that means that next time I am down and about to lose, I will never say die
Jennifer Capriati
She said afterwards: "It was a difficult match - at certain points we both played some great tennis at others both of us made a lot of errors.

"That makes this victory so much sweeter - to have come back and won a match like that.

"It proves that next time even if I am down and about to lose, I will never say die."

Both women produced some monstrous power hitting but it was Capriati's superior fitness and mental toughness that won her the battle.

Serena, who needed to leave the court twice because of apparent stomach problems, looked close to tears at the end of the two-hour thriller.


After the first three games I just didn't have any energy, as I have had a viral infection which has left me unable to eat for the last four days
Serena Williams
Afterwards she blamed her defeat on a viral infection which had left her lethargic and and needing to be sick at key points in the match.

"Usually I am a strong person and very well conditioned but this illness meant I could not really keep any food down for four days.

"After the first three games I just didn't have any energy, I was in pain.

"Having said that I could have won it if I had just toughened up a bit for a couple of points.

"Instead she picked up her game and deserved to win, though I should have done."

Serena Williams
Williams suffered stomach problems

Williams had the fourth seed on the ropes and at 30-love up while leading 5-3 in the second set, she was only two points away from victory.

But the 25-year-old, showing all the depths of resilience she discovered during her spell in the wilderness, somehow clung on.

The tone of the two-hour match was set as early as the second game, which Williams broke.

Four more breaks of serve followed in a see-saw first set.

Capriati had three set points while serving at 5-3 but Williams fought back to take it in a tie-break.

Stiff buttock

Williams had been doing her utmost to slow the pace of the game down and after taking a 4-3 lead in the second set, called out the trainer because of stomach pains.

Capriati was unfazed and asked the trainer to treat a stiff buttock muscle.

When play resumed Serena, who had only 11 games on her way to the last eight, then broke Capriati to take what looked like an unassailable 5-3 lead.

But Capriati held her serve then played a superb game, sending back Serena's 115mph plus serves with interest, to break serve and draw level.

Toilet break

She won her service game to love and closed out the set with another break, sealed with awesome forehand winner down the line.

The Centre Court could almost feel Capriati's surging confidence while Serena, her head bowed and her limbs heavy, cut a dejected figure.

The match then seemed to slip away from Williams as Capriati won her eighth game in a row to race to a 4-0 lead.

Again Serena, seemingly unable to comprehend the speed of the turnaround, asked permission for a toilet break.

She ran to the dressing room, for what appeared to be stomach problems, while Capritai once again was left twiddling her thumbs in the 90 degree heat.

Williams returned and then battled back to 5-3, claiming three games in a row,

But Capriati, who overcame drugs problems and brushes with the law during her teenage years, proved once again what a fighter she is.

She took the decisive game to love, winning it on her first match point as Williams sent her service return long.

As she basked in a warm standing ovation from the Centre Court crowd, Serena dashed for the exit looking close to tears.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
America's Serena Williams
"After the first three games I didn't have any energy left"
Wimbledon semi finalist Jennifer Capriati
"It proves that even if I am down I just will not just die"
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