Serena Outlasts Exhausted Davenport for Australian Open Title

Posted on January 29, 2005

Serena Williams came back from a set down Saturday in Melbourne, defeating world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 for her first grand slam title since the 2003 Australian Open. Serena could not defend her title in 2004 due to a knee injury.

Davenport, who also lost in the doubles final, raced out to a set lead but slowly saw her tank run dry as the former No. 1-ranked Williams began to find the range on her punishing groundstrokes.

The win ran Serena's streak to 14 straight wins in Melbourne, with her overall seventh slam title ending an 18-month slam drought.

"The last (slam) I won I think was Wimbledon and that one was exciting and fun," Serena said. "I love winning Wimbledon. I don't know. I feel that I need to win the French because I've won two of each already except for the French. I've only won one. So I feel that, 'Okay, I need to win another French Open so I can even them out.'"

Serena suffered an injury to one of her ribs in the opening set after stretching for a shot.

"At one point I reached for a backhand and I think it tweaked my back out, one of my ribs out. For the next few games I was completely out of it. I had to adjust," Serena said. "Then I finally decided, 'Okay, why don't you call for the trainer and see if she can put it back in place.' She did, and everything worked out."

In the third set Serena made only three unforced errors, and upped her ace count with 80 percent of her first serves hitting their mark.

"She raised her game," Davenport said. "She started serving really well and hard. You know, I think at the end, I mean, I definitely was a little bit I think just overall a little bit fatigued. But, you know, she took advantage when she had the opportunity and kept going."

The roof on Rod Laver Arena was closed during the match due to rain earlier in the day. Serena delivered 12 aces to Davenport's seven, with the world No. 1 converting on only two of eight break point chances.

It was almost certainly the last Australian Open for Davenport, who had planned to retire at the end of 2004 until a combination of her sterling play and injuries to other top players saw her finish the year No. 1.

In the Monday WTA Tour Rankings, Serena will become the first player to rise from outside the Top 5 to No. 2.