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CAPRIATI ADVANCES TO MEET DAVENPORT; SAMPRAS DENIED BY QUALIFIER

Top-ranked Jennifer Capriati set up a semifinal showdown against Lindsay Davenport at the Swisscom Challenge by beating a local qualifier in straight sets Friday.

Capriati, playing in her first tournament since replacing Martina Hingis at No. 1, defeated Marie Gaiane Mikaelian, 6-4, 6-2.

Earlier, two-time champion Davenport rallied after a slow start to eliminate qualifier Daniela Hantuchova, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Also Friday, fifth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat eliminated No. 9 Sandrine Testud, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), to reach the final four. Tauziat faces Jelena Dokic, who beat Silvia Farina Elia, 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Capriati and Davenport last met in February in the semifinals of a tourney in Scottsdale, Ariz. Capriati won in three sets.

"It's been awhile," Capriati said. "We'll probably feel each other out a bit at first. It should be a good match. I'll have to try and serve well and make her run, make fewer errors and expect more winners."

Capriati turned her career around completely this year, winning the Australian and French opens, and reaching the semifinals at the other two Grand Slam tournaments.

"I was nervous at first," the 17-year-old Mikaelian said. "I wasn't able to separate playing my opponent and playing the world No. 1. There wasn't a big difference, I think, except I was unable to come through on the big points."

Against Hantuchova, the third-seeded Davenport needed 86 minutes to improve her record in Zurich to 13-1.

"I had never played her or even seen her play," Davenport said. "I felt a bit sluggish and tired out there, and it took awhile to get going. It was quick tennis.

"I didn't play my best tennis, but I turned it around in the last two sets."

The American has looked strong in recent weeks, reaching the finals of three of her last four events. She won two, giving her five titles in 2001.

Davenport won the Zurich event in 1997-98, and her only defeat here came against Hingis in last year's final.

Sampras beaten again

STUTTGART, Germany -- Pete Sampras' long wait for another tournament title was extended when he lost to qualifier Max Mirnyi, 6-4, 6-2, in the quarterfinals of the Stuttgart Masters.

Mirnyi hit 11 aces to set up a semifinal meeting with fifth-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who beat Thomas Enqvist, 7-5, 6-4.

"He's very tough to pass, and I was forced into some errors because he's got that long reach," Sampras said.

U.S. Open champion Lleyton Hewitt stretched his winning streak to 17 matches, the longest on tour this year, by beating defending champion Wayne Ferreira, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2.

Hewitt could move up to No. 1 in the rankings if he wins his third straight tournament. His semifinals opponent in the $2.95 million event will be 15th-seeded Tommy Haas, who upset No. 7 Tim Henman, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Haas won the Vienna tournament last week.

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