posted on May, 14 2004 @ 05:24 PM
Former champion Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati were among Friday's quarterfinal winners and the two will now meet in Saturday's semifinals at
the $1.3 million Italia Masters -- a clay-court French Open tune-up.
The top-seeded Williams beat rapidly-rising Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-0. The ninth-seeded Kuznetsova headed to Rome having reached finals in
three of her last six tournaments and won 23 of her last 29 matches.
Williams captured this event in 2002 by beating Justine Henin-Hardenne in the final. The two-time reigning Wimbledon champion is now a brilliant 12-1
The fifth-seeded Capriati moved into the final four here with a routine 6-3, 6-3 decision against 16th-seeded Israeli Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi at Foro
Italico. Capriati will face Williams for a 14th time, with Williams holding a dominant 9-4 advantage against her fellow former world No. 1 star.
Formidable Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo closed within two victories of her second title in two weeks with a hard-fought 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 rain-delayed
victory against 10th-seeded Italian crowd favorite Silvia Farina Elia. Rain halted play with Mauresmo leading 1-0 in the final set.
Farina Elia actually served for the match at 5-3 in the third set, but nerves got the best of her and Mauresmo wound up winning four straight games to
The second-seeded Mauresmo was last week's champ in Berlin, where she captured the trophy when an injured Venus Williams was unable to face her in the
Mauresmo is a three-time runner-up in Rome, including last year when she gave way to amicable Belgian star Kim Clijsters. She's reached the semis here
five of the last six years.
Mauresmo's semifinal opponent will be dangerous eighth-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva, an easy 6-3, 6-3 victor over 14th-seeded Italian favorite
Francesca Schiavone on Day 5. The start of the Zvonareva-Schiavone match was delayed by rain for more than two hours.