NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, AP
Defending Pilot Pen champion Jennifer Capriati was upset Thursday, losing 6-4, 7-5 to eighth-seeded Nathalie Dechy.
It was Dechy’s first career win over the American in six tries.
“When you never win against somebody, you think it’s going to be one time,” said Dechy, who is French. “This morning I felt really well and I thought, ‘Today will be the day.”’
Both players spent much of the match in the backhand corners of the court, smashing shot after shot until one made a mistake.
More often than not, it was Capriati who folded first, although she complained vehemently several times in the match on Dechy shots that were ruled in.
Dechy broke Capriati to go up 6-5 after two errors by Capriati. Dechy then won the match, appropriately, thanks to two errant backhands by Capriati.
Capriati credited Dechy’s strong first serve, and said these matches were a good tuneup for next week’s U.S. Open, where she is seeded seventh.
“I think she definitely played the match of her life tonight,” Capriati said. “All credit to her really. There wasn’t much I could do.”
In other action, wild card Lisa Raymond powered into the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Daniela Hantuchova. Elena Bovina and Elena Dementieva also advanced.
Bovina, seeded seventh, defeated wild card Mashona Washington 6-3, 6-2, and No. 2 seed Dementieva beat Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-4.
The 31-year-old Raymond lost just two points in her service game in the second set, and broke the 21 year-old Hantuchova to win the match.
“Age is just a state of mind,” Raymond said. “It’s like you turn 30 … and your career is over. As long as (I’m) fit, healthy, and still enjoying this, why not?”
Hantuchova, who is trying to recapture the game that lifted her to No. 5 in the spring of 2003, showed little emotion as her errant groundstrokes short-circuited many rallies. She failed to convert eight break point chances.
“I can’t expect to win when I can’t break her,” she said.
Raymond expected to be in New York this week preparing for the U.S. Open. But she was offered a chance to play singles, and took it. The offer came after she replaced Capriati at the Olympics and reached the third round, losing to eventual bronze medalist Alicia Molik.
“I didn’t expect to be here,” she said. “I just wanted to play some good matches. I got the wild card and put it to good use.” In her match, Bovina recovered after losing her first two service games.
“Maybe I didn’t have to play 100 percent today, but I just had to play a solid game against her. That’s what I did,” Bovina said.
Washington, who beat Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova on Tuesday to reach the quarterfinals, was happy despite the loss.
“Beating a top-10 player, that obviously tells me I have the goods,” said Washington, ranked No. 81. “Now I’ve got to show it day-in and day-out on a more consistent basis. … The next step would just be winning one.”