Capriati ousts Davenport in semifinals
MELBOURNE (Reuters) -- American 12th seed Jennifer Capriati toppled defending champion Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday to reach the final of the Australian Open.
Capriati, 24, threw her arms in the air and cried when Davenport netted a forehand on the second match point to close out the semifinal in 76 minutes and reach her first grand slam final.
"I really wanted it... it has taken me a long time to get to the final of a Grand Slam," Capriati said.
"I was really determined before the match and I just gave it everything I've got."
Capriati will now play either top seed Martina Hingis or third seed Venus Williams in the final.
"She played great, she was really fired up but I thought I was not playing that well," said Davenport, who committed an unusually high 43 unforced errors.
"I'm disappointed because in all the semifinals I've ever played this is the most disappointing I've ever showed up to play."
Capriati, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist, was playing in her fifth grand slam semifinal and scored a surprisingly easy victory against a listless and error-prone Davenport on a hot and humid center court at Melbourne Park.
Davenport had beaten her at the same stage in Melbourne last year.
"I got my chance last year and I didn't want to give up a second chance to get to the finals," Capriati said.
"Maybe Lindsay even underestimated me and didn't come out so strong. I got an early break, I didn't think she expected it."
Capriati broke second seed Davenport in the second game of the first set and quickly built a 3-0 lead.
A sluggish Davenport won only one point in the opening two games and appeared to have few answers to her U.S. compatriot's heavy groundstrokes.
"I don't think I was able to execute the game plan I was wanting to," Davenport said.
"It's great for her. Obviously she's been through a lot and she's a friend but I would rather be in the final."
Capriati broke Davenport again in the opening game of the second set before surrendering her serve for the first and only time in the next game.
Davenport set up another service break opportunity for the tenacious Capriati with a double fault and a forehand error in the fifth game of the second set.
Capriati took the break when an attempted Davenport passing shot bounced up off the net post, offering Capriati an open court to put the ball away. Capriati then safely served out the match against a tiring Davenport.
"I didn't know if anything could top winning the gold (medal at 1992 Barcelona Olympics) but so far this is great and it'll be even better if I can win here," Capriati said.
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