Davenport Takes Out Both Williams Sisters for LA Title

Posted on July 26, 2004

No. 3-seeded Lindsay Davenport completed her Williams sister sweep on Sunday at LA, pummeling the top-seeded (but non-Top 10-ranked) Serena Williams 6-1, 6-3 for her fourth title of the year.

Davenport entered the match with a career 2-9 record against Serena, losing the last four meetings, but during the match never gave the younger Williams a chance to get in the match.

"I don't know why it all clicked all of a sudden," Davenport said. "One unforced error from me in the first set is a miracle."

Serena had a strangely erratic serving day, and coughed up twice the number of unforced errors as her American counterpart.

"I committed suicide out there," Williams said, referring to the Wimbledon final, par-usual pinning the match result on her poor play rather than the effort of her opponent. "My second suicide attempt of the year. I had my opportunities in the second set and I didn't take them. I don't think she served that well, but I just didn't take them...I need to get serious and really concentrate. Hopefully, I can learn from the past."

The win ties Davenport with the No. 1-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne with four titles on the year. In the semifinals Davenport defeated sister Venus Williams, who retired trailing in the second set of their match with a wrist injury.

In the doubles final the No. 4-seeded Russian-American pair of Nadia Petrova/Meghann Shaughnessy came back from a set down to beat No. 3-seeded Spaniards Conchita Martinez/Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-3 for their tour-leading fifth title of the year.

Anabel "Funky Cold" Medina Garrigues of Spain won her second career WTA Tour title Sunday at Palermo, beating Flavia "Of the Day" Pennetta of Italy 6-4, 6-4 Sunday. Funky Cold's first career title came at Palermo in 2001.

"Palermo brings me good luck," Funky Cold said.

Pennetta led 4-1 in the second set, but choked the last five games.

In the doubles final, Funky Cold and veteran countrywoman Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario beat No. 3-seeded Slovaks Lubomira Kurhajcova/Henrieta Nagyova 6-3, 7-6(4) for their first title as a team, with S-V preparing for her Olympic comeback. They were playing together for the third time this year, losing in the first round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

This week in San Diego has become a big deal on the WTA Tour, with the event upgraded to "Tier I" status earlier this year, attracting an ATP Masters Series-type field of exclusive top players. "We are all excited about this upgrade to Tier I status," said former ATP exec Larry Scott, the WTA's chief executive officer. "This tournament is a favorite among players, staff and the media, and this upgrade in tier status further solidifies it as one of the premier WTA Tour events." Then why isn't it part of the US Open Series point system Larry? You need to get your ducks in order, get control of your events.

The top eight seeds get byes in San Diego, relegating early-round action to the No. 9-16 scrub seeds. The Top 8 in S.D. are Serena Williams (still benefiting from a protected ranking in the tournament seedings), Amelie Mauresmo, Anastasia Myskina, Lindsay Davenport, Elena Dementieva, Maria "Grunt-o-rama" Sharapova in her first event since winning Wimbledon, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Ai Sugiyama. Venus Williams languishes in the No. 11 seeded position, not getting the benefit of the first round bye, and no word yet if she will pull with the wrist injury she experienced last weekend in LA.

Early-round matches of note are (15)Francesca Schiavone vs. rising Russian Elena "Lena" Bovina, (12)Vera "Warren" Zvonareva vs. French vet Nathalie Dechy, a potential (7)Kuznetsova vs. Daniela "The Walking Stick" Hantuchova second-rounder, (14)Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi vs. Chanda Rubin, (11)Venus vs. Gisela "Sgt." Dulko, (8)Sugiyama vs. the Shaughnessy/Asagoe winner, a potential (4)Davenport vs. Karolina "The Spreminator" Sprem second-rounder, (10)Nadia Petrova vs. Elena Likhovtseva in an all-Russian, (13)Patty "Handshake" Snyder vs. Ashley "Anna 2.0" Harkleroad, and (2)Mauresmo facing the winner of the Alicia Molik-Nicole Pratt Aussie battle.

In the semifinals look for (1)Serena vs. a Russian ((3)Myskina or (6)Sharapova), and (4)Davenport vs. (2)Mauresmo. In last year's final, (3)Justine Henin-Hardenne beat (2)Kim Clijsters 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the all-Belgian final. Both Belgian will miss San Diego this year with injury.

Former champs in the draw are Venus (2002-00), Davenport (1998), and Conchita Martinez (1995). Former champ Jennifer Capriati (1992-91) pulled with injury.

Play began Sunday in San Diego, with five winners in (9)Paola Suarez (d. Kapros), Amy "Joltin' Joe" Frazier (d. Mandula), Mary Pierce (d. Schaul), Iveta Benesova (d. (16)Farina Elia), and Jelena Kostanic (d. Barna).

The final round of qualifying was also completed, with four moving into the main draw in Marion Bartoli (FRA), Jill Craybas (USA), Lilia Osterloh (USA), and Jelena Jankovic (d. NCAA champ (WC)Amber Liu).


Top-seeded Andy Roddick made good on surviving three match points in his semifinal at Indianapolis, on Sunday steamrolling No. 12 seed Nicolas Kiefer 6-2, 6-3 to defend his win from 2003.

It was the fourth title of the year for Roddick, who is second behind world No. 1 Roger Federer with an intimidating seven titles. Indy is a positive start for the American, who will try to duplicate or better his amazing 27-1 U.S. summer hardcourt record from last year that also began in Indy.

"I came ready to play today," said Roddick, the first player to repeat at Indy since Pete Sampras in 1991-92. "Yesterday (Ivan Ljubicic) was the one who took it to me early. Today, I forced my game."

In the doubles final, the Aussie-American team of Jordan Kerr/Jim Thomas upset No. 2-seeded Zimbabweans Wayne Black/Kevin Ullyett 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 6-3 for their second title as a team after Newport this year.

Argentine Gaston Gaudio is 0-2 in finals since his miraculous French Open win, on Sunday losing to No. 3 seed Nicolas Massu 7-6(3), 6-4 in the Kitzbuhel final.

"I defeated the Roland Garros champion which gives me some extra confidence," Massu said. "The first set was a very close one although I had my chances that could not make. I was playing well and I knew that in the end the break would come. Could not be a better week. The story is repeating. Last year I also started playing well in Amersfoot and it is happening again."

Due to rain the semifinals were also played earlier Sunday, with (2)Gaudio defeating unseeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-2, and (3)Massu upsetting (1)Rainer "Shine" Schuettler 6-3, 6-3. Kitzbuhel is the first title of the year for Massu, who lost in last year's final to Guillermo Coria.

In the doubles final, Czechs Frantisek Cermak and Leos Friedl won their first title of the year, defeating Argentines Arnold/Garcia 6-3, 7-5. Earlier in the day in a rain-delayed semifinal, the Czechs had beaten Palmer/Vizner 7-6(3), 6-4.

No. 6 seed Guillermo Canas kept his winning streak alive with his second title in two weeks Sunday at Umag, beating No. 4 seed Filippo Volandri 7-5, 6-3 for his second title on the year.

"After last week in Stuttgart, my goal was to win but I wasn't expecting to do so," said a tired Canas. "I arrived here late, I wasn't fresh physically so this is just fantastic. I feel I need to stop for a minute and understand what is happening to me, especially after the difficult year I had in 2003 with my wrist. Now, I am going home, I want to take some time off, be with my friends and family and start preparing for the hardcourt season in the U.S."

In the doubles final, Jose Acasuso/Flavio "Of the Day" Saretta edged David Levinsky/Jaroslav Skoch 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 for their first title as a team.

Indianapolis winner Andy Roddick will have a number of roadblocks in the way of defending his Masters Series-Canada title this week in Toronto, mainly in the form of world No. 1 Roger Federer, and former No. 1s Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Marat Safin, Andre Agassi, Carlos Moya and Gustavo Kuerten.

Here's a look at how the four quarters of the 64-man draw break down:

Top Quarter
(1)Roger Federer, (7)Juan Carlos Ferrero, (9)Lleyton Hewitt, (14)Paradorn "The Thai Fighter" Srichaphan
Floaters: former champ Andrei Pavel, Rafael "The Prodigy" Nadal, Ivan Ljubicic, Fabrice Santoro

World No. 1 Roger Federer must have taken a look at this draw and said, "Are you kidding me?" To simply emerge to the semis the Swiss will likely face either former No. 1 Ferrero or Hewitt in the quarterfinals, and a couple testers beforehand. Fed will open against the athletic Hicham Arazi, who he holds a 3-1 career advantage over, then the winner of Swedes Robin Soderling-Thomas Enqvist. The Swiss has a potential 3rd round meeting with (14)The Thai Fighter, which would be an interesting first-time match-up. (14)The Thai Fighter opens against the former champ Pavel, with a handful of other tough openers in (9)Hewitt vs. The Prodigy, and (7)Ferrero vs. Santoro.

Second Quarter
(3)Guillermo "El Fragile" Coria, (6)David Nalbandian, (12)Sebastien Grosjean, (13)Nicolas Massu
Floaters: Taylor Dent, Gregory Carraz, Joachim "The Jackhammer" Johansson, Mikhail Youzhny

The Euro/South American section features two fastcourt specialists in US Open semifinalist Nalbandian and Wimbledon semifinalist Grosjean, as well as the MS-Miami runner-up El Fragile. (3)El Fragile has possibly the best draw of any of the seeds, and could look forward to a quarterfinal with the big-serving unseeded floater Dent. (6)Nalbandian has a tricky opener against the Russian Youzhny, who he has never faced, while (12)Grosjean likewise plays a countryman (always a tough prospect, especially if you practice with them) in Gregory Carraz (then possible the ridiculously-huge serving Swede J.Johansson in the second round), and (13)Massu will be the underdog against Dent in his opener. Look for a (3)El Fragile vs. Dent 4th round (80% chance someone will get injured in that match) to face the winner of (6)Nalbandian vs. (12)Grosjean to reach the semis.

Third Quarter
(4)Carlos Moya, (8)Rainer "Shine" Schuettler, (10)Andre Agassi, (15)Marat Safin
Floaters: Fernando "Gonzo" Gonzalez, Vince Spadea, Dominik "The Dominator" Hrbaty, Tommy Haas, Nicolas Kiefer, "Dr." Ivo Karlovic, Fernando Verdasco

The toughest section of the draw contains not only three former No. 1s, but also a host of dangerous floaters, including three-time 2004 title winner The Dominator and Germans Tommy Haas (a winner a week ago at LA) and Nicolas Kiefer (runner-up in his last two events), both of whom have started the hardcourt season in red-hot form. First-round blockbusters include (10)Agassi vs. Haas (the German won their last meeting), (15)Safin vs. Kiefer (Safin leads meetings 3-1), as well as (8)Schuettler vs. Gonzalez and an all-Spanish in (4)Moya vs. Verdasco (Fernando is due). Whoever's coming out of this section is your best guess, with the (15)Safin/Kiefer winner having the nicest road.

Bottom Quarter
(2)Andy Roddick, (5)Tim Henman, (11)Gaston Gaudio, (16)Juan Ignacio Chela
Floaters: Gustavo Kuerten, Irakli Labadze, Mardy Fish, Robby Ginepri, Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Escude, Feliciano "F-Lo" Lopez

A fairly nice road for seeds (2)Roddick and (5)Henman, considering this is a Masters Series draw, but the floaters abound. A-Rod opens against a qualifier, then faces the winner of Escude-Lopez. The Brit Henman trails first-round opponent Mariano Zabaleta 3-4 in their career meetings, but three of the four losses came on clay. The winner of that match will face the winner of Kuerten-Ginepri. (16)Chela has a tough opener against Xavier "X-Man" Malisse, but there are not many other openers to sustain your interest in this section. Roddick will be kicking himself if he doesn't emerge into the quarterfinals to likely face either (5)Henman or the unseeded Fish, if the "B"-squad American is fully recovered from his hip problems of late.

Former MS-Canada champions in the field are Roddick (2003), Pavel (2001), Safin (2000), T.Johansson (1999), and Agassi (1995-94,'92).

Lindsay Davenport
has won in Stanford and LA over the past two weeks, and will attempt go for her second "California Triple" this week in Carlsbad. She managed the feat in 1998 when she won the three straight Cali events then went on to win the US Open...Ivan Ljubicic out-aced Andy Roddick 24-11 in his losing effort in the Indy semifinals...Lleyton Hewitt in Toronto on the new stadium for the MS-Canada: "It's an awesome stadium court, there's lots of practice courts and it seems very fan friendly which is a really good thing. I think I speak for all the players in saying thanks to the huge number of fans who have come out to watch even the qualifying rounds. I want you to know we are very grateful for it."...Part of the strange opening ceremonies in Toronto include the Parade of Champions, where all 64 players will be on court wearing Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys, and the Canadian national anthem performed by the top nine finalists from Canadian Idol...No player can top Ivan Lendl at the Canadian Open. Lendl reached the final nine times and won six titles in 1980-81,'83, and '87-89. The Masters Series events began in 1990.