NEW YORK -- Jennifer Capriati came back to the U.S. Open for the first time in three years yesterday, but she was gone again before late afternoon.
She was just a little long, a little wide, a little off the mark as she fell to Annabel Ellwood, 6-4, 6-4, on the Grandstand Court.
"I just don't quite have the edge yet," Capriati said. "I feel like it's close. Every match is just a great experience for me, win or lose. It's a good learning experience for me, just for my game."
Capriati, a semifinalist here in 1991 when she was ranked No. 6 in the world, was off the tour all of 1994 and 1995 due to personal problems. She said yesterday that returning to the game has been like starting all over again.
"It's definitely true that you have to learn again how to win close matches," she said.
Capriati said she is disappointed not to have won a couple of matches here, but added she had no expectations of what she would do. As to the rest of the season, she has no schedule. She said she would take it as it comes. Month by month? "Moment by moment," she said.
Wild card Shriver out
A wild-card entry here, Baltimore's Pam Shriver hoped to make the most of it, but it didn't turn out that way yesterday, as she fell to Sandrine Testud, 7-5, 6-2, on Court 18.
"It's frustrating that I couldn't hold serve," Shriver said. "And I had an injury [groin] left over [from] San Diego last week. As usual, if I have something that goes wrong, it takes a lot longer to mend than it used to."
RTC The match is probably her last singles match here. Shriver said she will not be back unless she can get her ranking up over the next 12 months to qualify without a wild card, but said it is "not my next 12 months' ambition."
The crowd, as usual, was in Shriver's corner.
"You know, I used to hate her," said Robert Scanlan of New Orleans as he muscled for position to see Shriver's match. "But, I guess, because she's been in the game so long and gives so much to it, I've come around. Just to think she's still doing it. I'd like her to have a last hurrah."
Maybe in doubles. Shriver and Zina Garrison-Jackson are seeded 13th.
Graf survives scare
Steffi Graf found herself down 5-2 in the second set last night against Yayuk Basuki but rallied for a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) victory.
"She takes a lot of risks and when it works for her it really works," Graf said. "She definitely played a very good second set . . . but I wasn't really worried because I had more confidence on the big shots."
No. 1 seed Pete Sampras doesn't let anything throw him. The draw sheet said he would be facing unknown Adrian Voinea. But Voinea suffered a sprained ankle during his morning practice, opening the spot to Jimy Szymanski, an even bigger unknown, just 15 minutes before the match.
Sampras won, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.
Pub Date: 8/28/96