CARLSBAD, California, AP
In the biggest upset at the Acura Classic, sixth-seeded Jelena Dokic defeated No. 2 Jennifer Capriati 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 Friday night in the quarterfinals at La Costa Resort and Spa.
Earlier, two-time defending champion Venus Williams beat No. 5 Kim Clijsters 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to advance to the semifinals, while Anna Kournikova rallied from a one-sided loss in the first set for the second straight day to eliminate No. 12 Anna Smashnova 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Third-seeded Lindsay Davenport also advanced to Saturday’s semifinals by overpowering Ai Sugiyama 6-1, 6 1.
Kournikova, who needed 2 hours, 19 minutes to beat Smashnova, will face Dokic Saturday afternoon and Williams and Davenport will meet in the other semifinal Saturday night. The championship match will be played Sunday.
Dokic played a solid game and avoided critical mistakes in upsetting Capriati.
“She played very well tonight,” Capriati said. “She’s always been a good player but tonight she was a great player.”
Dokic was delighted.
“I can say that maybe this is the biggest win of my career,” she said, adding that game has been getting better recently.
Top-seeded Williams, who hadn’t lost a set since being beaten 7-6 (4), 6-3 by her sister Serena in the finals at Wimbledon last month, used a tournament-high 122-mph service ace to end the match, which lasted 102.
“Finally, I got a really good one, that was nice,” Williams said of her final serve. “I was never nervous throughout the whole match. I made a few mistakes and rushed a few times, but I’m older and wiser now. I’ve been here a lot of times before.”
“I enjoyed the atmosphere out there and really enjoyed myself today,” Clijsters said. “I know that I gave my best. It was fun, even though it is never nice to lose.”
The 21-year-old Kournikova, who hasn’t won a WTA tournament in 112 previous attempts, has made it to the finals of three tournaments — Moscow in 2000, Hilton Head in 1999 and Miami in 1998. She had lost in the first round in four of her previous five WTA events.
“I’m just really happy to win four matches in a row,” Kournikova said of her prospects to make the final. “Saturday the match will be more of a power game with more winners and shorter points.”
Kournikova, who played with her left thigh taped, lost nine of her first 11 games against Smashnova and was down 2-0 in the third set before coming back to win six of the final eight games.
Kournikova also won only one game in the first set Thursday before rallying for a 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Conchita Martinez.
“Today was definitely tougher,” Kournikova said. “I guess that I as a step too slow in the beginning today. I was really tired from yesterday. Then I started to play smarter and get more aggressive. I started to move much better.”
Davenport is playing in only her second WTA tournament since right knee surgery in January.
“I think this is the best match I’ve played since I’ve come back,” she said. “It’s definitely the best that I’ve served.”