Pro Media & News


Craig Ellenport | July 23, 2020

With the current suspension of the ATP and WTA Tours, we are opening up our US Open vault to bring you full match videos of classic encounters through the years in New York.


Watch on YouTube: Serena Williams vs. Jennifer Capriati, 2004 US Open quarterfinal


To say Jennifer Capriati and Serena Williams had an intense rivalry might be an understatement. The two legends of women’s tennis met 17 times in their career and 12 of those matches went three sets. Williams holds a 10-7 advantage, but it’s worth noting that only Venus Williams (12) has more victories against her sister than Capriati’s seven.


While they never met in the final of a Grand Slam, that’s mainly because they often found themselves on the same side of the draw. From 2001-04, the last four years of Capriati’s Hall of Fame career, the two Americans met seven times in either the quarterfinals or semifinals of a Grand Slam event. Only one of those matches was in the US Open. It was their final meeting, and it was a classic.


It was actually their third straight Grand Slam quarterfinal matchup. Capriati defeated Williams at the French Open (before losing to eventual champ Anastasia Myskina in the semis). Williams avenged that loss with a win at Wimbledon (eventually losing in the final to Maria Sharapova).


In the rubber match at Flushing Meadows, Williams was the tournament’s No. 3 seed; Capriati was No. 8. Williams took the first set, 6-2, but Capriati fought back to take the second, 6-4.


The first game of the deciding set was at deuce, and that’s when things really got interesting. Williams hit a backhand shot down the line that appeared to give her a game point. But the umpire overruled the call, setting up a break point for Capriati, which she converted. Williams broke right back, but then Capriati broke again and never relinquished the lead, closing out a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.


That controversial call was the first of four questionable calls in the third set, all in Capriati’s favor. The umpire actually apologized to Williams after the match. Two years later, Hawk-Eye instant replay was introduced at the 2006 US Open.


Capriati would end up losing her semifinal match to Elena Dementieva, who lost in the final to fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova. After the semifinal loss, Capriati admitted she was still a bit shaken from the controversial win over Williams.


“I’d have to say it did [bother me],” Capriati said after the three-set loss to Dementieva. “I couldn’t sleep a couple of times after… Every time I would turn on the TV, I just starting to question even myself. It was difficult. It was like, ‘Did I do something wrong? Was it my fault?’”


Capriati’s victory ensured that 2004 would be the first year since 1998 that neither Serena nor Venus Williams won a Grand Slam singles title. 


The complete match is now available to watch on the USTA YouTube channel, or below.



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