Capriati advances on solid straight-set win

Updated: June 27, 2004, 2:01 PM ET news services

WIMBLEDON, England -- Jennifer Capriati flexed her muscles on People's Sunday to send France's Nathalie Dechy packing from the third round of Wimbledon with a solid 7-5, 6-1 win.

Court 1 was less than half full when the American seventh seed won the first singles match completed in more than 40 hours at Wimbledon.

As the match progressed, Capriati said she sensed a difference in the crowd.

"You can definitely feel a difference in the atmosphere," she said. The members of Sunday's crowd "really feel honored to be there almost."

Capriati moved into a fourth-round contest with 10th-seeded Nadia Petrova, who beat her at the 2003 French Open.

Petrova beat Tatiana Perebiynis of Ukraine 7-6, 6-2 in their third round clash on Sunday.

"I felt pretty good ... got better as the match went on," said the player who remained on track for a quarterfinal showdown with champion and top seed Serena Williams.

Centre Court was full by the time Williams beat Spain's Magui Serna 6-4, 6-0 in 58 minutes.

The top-seeded Williams looked subdued with both her mother and father watching from the stands, but still had 11 aces and 29 winners with only one double-fault and 11 errors.

The American, seeking her third successive singles crown at the All England Club, started steadily but eventually her power and movement overwhelmed the 53rd-ranked Spaniard on Centre Court.

Williams barely broke a sweat as Serna handed her victory with an errant service return on the American's second match point.

In other women's matches, Karolina Sprem returned from her upset over Venus Williams with a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) win against No. 32 Meghann Shaughnessy.

French fourth seed Amelie Mauresmo wasted little time securing her fourth-round berth with 6-1, 6-4 victory over Slovakian Ludmila Cervanova.

The 2002 semi-finalist, playing on a thinly-populated Court 1, took an immediate grip on proceedings and completed a routine workout to move into the last 16.

Mauresmo, in the same half of the draw as defending champion Serena Williams, plays either Italian Silvia Farina Elia or Spain's Virginia Ruano Pascual for a place in the last eight.

Wimbledon was 120 matches behind schedule after six days, forcing organizers to institute a People's Sunday for the first time since 1997.

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.