Fourteen-year-old Jennifer Capriati slammed her way to the brink of her first tournament victory Saturday, defeating Susan Sloane 6-2, 6-2 to reach the finals of the Mount Cranmore International Women's Tennis Championship in Conway, N.H.
Capriati, fresh from record-setting performances in two Grand Slam events in Europe, set the tone of the semifinal in the sixth game of the 25-minute first set.The Tampa, Fla. native, up 3-2, overcame a 0-40 deficit and survived four game points to break Sloane's serve. She won the next four games, breaking serve twice.
"When it's close like that, when she gets the lead, then she really starts going," the fifth-seeded Sloane, 19, said.
Sloane, losing to Capriati for the fourth time in as many tries, said her top-seeded opponent plays big points well and takes chances to come from behind.
Capriati makes her third appearance in a final when she meets third-seed Ros Fairbank on Sunday. Fairbank scored a minor upset with a 7-6 (12-10), 6-2 victory over second-seeded Laura Gildemeister.
Capriati had a harder time Friday in beating Stacey Martin 6-4, 7-5. Capriati had gotten two byes into the quarterfinal.
Fairbank, 29, was tenacious throughout her semifinal against Gildemeister, especially during the tiebreaker.
The San Diego native, ranked 25th in the world, said she looks forward, in a way, to playing 13th-ranked Capriati.
"I think it would be a good experience. . . . I'd be on cloud nine if I beat her," she said. "But if I'm thinking of winning this thing, I'd rather play Sloane."