Capriati has edge over Myskina

Updated: June 2, 2004, 5:37 PM ET
By Cynthia Faulkner | ESPN.com

The Williams sisters having gone down like dominoes in the quarterfinals, Jennifer Capriati is the only American woman left in the French Open draw.

No. 7-seeded Capriati has a 5-1 record against Thursday's semifinal opponent, Russian Anastasia Myskina. However this year, when their rankings drew within one spot of each other (Myskina at No. 5 and Capriati at No. 6), they have split their matches. Capriati won the only match on clay, in Berlin.

It was in Berlin, after hiring Steffi Graf's former coach Heinz Gunthardt, that Capriati stepped out of a slump that saw her exiting before the fourth round in three of four tournaments. It also was in Berlin that she first defeated Serena Williams, giving her the confidence she needed to defeat Williams at the French Open.

"[I] kept telling myself, you know, 'I think I'm playing better. I've been playing better. I'm fitter,'" Capriati said afterward. "And just, you know, the way I've been working, I was just like, you know, not gonna let this go down."

Myskina admitted that her dream for the tournament had been to win the first round. Instead, she's in the semifinals with a confidence boost from eliminating Venus Williams. Still, she seems to be keeping a level head.

"I know the next match is gonna be really tough because Jennifer is great player, and I know how much she wants to win right now," Myskina said. "She beat Serena. That shows as well that she's really good. I just have to keep calm."

  • They haven't played each other in the past two years, but No. 9 seed Elena Dementieva holds a slight 2-1 head-to-head edge over semifinal foe and 14th seed Paola Suarez. The catch is that Suarez won their only meeting on clay 7-5, 6-3 at Acapulco.

    After Dementieva defeated favored Amelie Mauresmo in the French quarters, Dementieva said she gained confidence in Miami when she defeated Venus Williams before going on to face Serena Williams in the final.

    If you can take confidence from winning a match with a 54-percent serve percentage and then being part of the most mismatched final in a tournament history, well, you've mastered the power of positive thinking.

    In fact, Dementieva is convinced we haven't seen the best out of her yet.

    "There is a very good moment right now with some injured players, you know, some players who maybe retired soon," Dementieva said. "So it's a good chance for me and maybe Myskina, you know, to take advantage and go forward."

    Suarez won a title in 2002 at Roland Garros -- in doubles.

    "I think the doubles help a lot to me," Suarez said. "In doubles we play a lot of finals and we play on center court and we play many finals of Grand Slams. That give me experience, you know."

  • There are still two American men in the semifinals. Twins Bob and Mike Bryan continue the defense of their doubles title on Thursday. Good thing these guys have a few Davis Cup matches under their belts as they face two Frenchmen, Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro, on center court.

    Cynthia Faulkner is the tennis editor for ESPN.com.

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