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Saturday, 18 May, 2002, 18:28 GMT 19:28 UK
Williams ends Capriati run
Serena Williams rips into a back hand
Williams had to fight hard to beat Capriati
  Saturday's Italian Open results
  Photo Gallery: See this story in pictures

Serena Williams beat Jennifer Capriati after more than two hours of gruelling action on Saturday to reach the final of the Italian Open.

Capriati had taken the number one spot in the rankings from Serena's elder sister Venus on Friday.

And the younger Williams gained a measure of revenge as she beat Capriati 6-2 3-6 7-5.

Williams will play Belgium's Justine Henin in Sunday's final in a rematch of last week's German Open final, which Henin won on a third-set tie-break.

Justine Henin salutes her fans after beating compatriot Kim Clijsters
Justine Henin was an easy winner in her semi

Henin defeated Belgian compatriot Kim Clijsters 7-5 6-2 in the day's first semi-final.

The crucial moment for Capriati came in the third set after she had squandered a 3-0 lead.

Williams forced a break point at 5-5 and Capriati double-faulted to open the door for Williams, who served out to take the match.

Williams took an off-court injury break when she was trailing 3-2 in the third set and returned with her right thigh heavily strapped, but she insisted the injury is not serious.

"It comes from playing a lot of matches on clay," she said. "That's very hard on the muscles.

"It was a little tough today, I'm just glad I was able to come through," a tired-looking Williams added.


The red clay is my domain
Belgian starlet
Justine Henin
"I'm excited to be in the final."

Henin produced a compelling performance to secure only her second win in six meetings against her childhood friend.

"I had to work really hard," said Henin. "But I'm very happy to finally have beaten her again and to be in the final.

"The red clay is my domain. I'm playing very well right now and I have nothing to lose in the final."

Both players showed frailty on their own service in the first set and there were four consecutive breaks at one point on the red clay at the Foro Italico before Henin took the set 7-5.

Henin, who has struggled with a leg injury for most of the week, had five minutes of physiotherapy before the start of the second set.

But she was too strong for Clijsters, breaking serve twice on her way to taking the set 6-2.


Saturday's semi-final results (prefix denotes seeding)

5 J Henin (Bel) bt 3 K Clijsters (Bel) 7-5 6-2
4 Serena Williams (USA) bt 2 Jennifer Capriati (USA) 6-2 3-6 7-5

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"Williams' win sets up a repeat of last week's German Open"
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