Originally created 12/16/01

Kournikova beats Capriati in exhibition

TAMPA, Fla. -- Jennifer Capriati made her tennis debut in her adopted hometown, but Russian Anna Kournikova spoiled the occasion with a 6-4, 7-5 upset victory in their exhibition match Friday night at the Ice Palace.

Capriati is ranked second in the world behind Lindsay Davenport after a season that included Grand Slam championships in the Australian and French opens.

Capriati, who began the year at No. 14, also won the Family Circle Cup title and reached the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Kournikova, who has yet to win a singles title on the WTA Tour, fell from eighth in the rankings to No. 71 after being sidelined most of the year with a stress fracture in her left foot.

Capriati said her opponent deserves more credit for her court prowess.

"She's a very sound player, and she gives a lot of the top players a lot of trouble," Capriati said. "I think she's probably underestimated in her tennis."

Kournikova opened the first set with four victories, including two breaks of serve. She dropped the next three games before recovering to win 6-4.

The second set was on serve until Kournikova rallied to win the last three games and close out the match.

"I've beaten her before, but obviously she's playing much better now," Kournikova said. "I'm just real excited that I played well, that I used a lot of things that I've been working on."


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