Originally created 06/29/02

Serena, Capriati win at Wimbledon



WIMBLEDON, England -- Add Andy Roddick to the list of early losers at Wimbledon. Yevgeny Kafelnikov, too.

On Friday, halfway through the third round, there were two ways to look at the men's tournament: Either there's impressive depth ... or no one wants to win.

Roddick was humbled by serve-and-volley specialist Greg Rusedski 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Centre Court, right after two-time major champion Kafelnikov, seeded fifth, seemed to stop fighting late in his 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-1 loss to Xavier Malisse.

"This is anybody's game," said No. 27 Malisse, a Belgian who's never won a tournament and has never been past the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament. "If somebody wants to win it from the outside, this is the year to do it."

That's for sure. Here's how zany it's been:

- Only two of the top 15 men are still playing - No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and No. 4 Tim Henman, slated to meet in the semifinals.

- The highest-seeded player in the draw's bottom half is No. 22 Nicolas Lapentti.

- U.S. Open champion Hewitt and 1996 Wimbledon winner Richard Krajicek, who's played more matches this week than in the preceding 20 months because of elbow surgery, are the only Grand Slam title holders around.

- With Roddick and Taylor Dent falling Friday, only one of the 14 U.S. men is left - 98th-ranked Jeff Morrison. And if he loses to Sjeng Schalken on Saturday, it will be the first time in 80 years that no American made it to the fourth round.

It's already the worst showing by U.S. men in the Open era, since 1968: Never before had fewer than two made the round of 16.

"The overall state of American tennis isn't the best it's ever been," the 11th-seeded Roddick acknowledged.

For a dose of normalcy, though, take a look at the women.

Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati - who have won five of the past 11 majors (Serena's sister, Venus, has four in that span) - reached the fourth round with straight-set victories.

So did No. 7 Jelena Dokic, No. 9 Amelie Mauresmo, No. 11 Daniela Hantuchova, and Chanda Rubin, once ranked as high as sixth but unseeded here because of lost play due to two knee operations in the last 18 months.

A big surprise so far is Laura Granville, a qualifier from Key Biscayne, Fla., who had one career tour-level victory before Wimbledon. She knocked off two-time major champ Mary Pierce 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to make the last 16.

Capriati blasted by No. 26 Daja Bedanova 6-4, 6-2, while Williams got by Belgian qualifier Els Callens 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2).

Williams lost serve in each set and had 22 unforced errors. She also had trouble with her footing, slipping often. In the 12th game of the match, she tripped and fell hard on her right side in the doubles alley, leaving a streak of chalk on her leg.

Most courts have big brown patches along both baselines, where the grass is dry and worn. That's because the weather has been as odd as the results - five days of sun and not a drop of rain.

Roddick never had much of a chance against Rusedski, who was born in Canada but, thanks to his mother's origins, became a British citizen in 1995, and had plenty of Centre Court support.

Rusedski owns the tour record for fastest serve, 149 mph, and won 40 of 46 points on his serve in the first two sets. Roddick managed two break points, both in the third set. He set up one in the third game with a belly flop, net-cord passing shot, but wasted it with an unforced error backhand. The other came in the fifth game, but Rusedski pounded an ace at 133 mph.

"By the time I started returning well," Roddick said, "it was pretty much sealed up."

Roddick can serve well, too - he shares the Wimbledon record of 144 mph - but double faulted in three of the four games in which he was broken.

Few of the surprise-springers have had staying power.

George Bastl, Paradorn Schrichaphan and Olivier Rochus - the trio who sent Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Marat Safin packing in the second round - all were beaten Friday.

Paradorn lost 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2 to Krajicek, who's pretty much held together with duct tape these days. The 6-foot-5, 196-pound Dutchman is playing in only his second tournament since career-threatening elbow surgery in November 2000. He's also had problems with his right leg and bleeding toes.

"It's nice to live in these times," said Krajicek, who'll face another huge server, Mark Philippoussis, for a quarterfinal spot. "Maybe 20, 30 years ago, I would have had to take one, two, three years off or maybe I never would have been able to play again."

Even he seems to be unaware of just how much strength he has back in his right arm. After finishing off Paradorn, Krajicek decided to celebrate by hitting a ball into the stands.

The ball cleared the crowd and landed on the roof.