Davenport Sweeps Singles, Doubles in Memphis
Published March 01, 2008 12:00
MEMPHIS, TN, USA - At the beginning of the week it looked as though her long-time rivalry with Venus Williams would be revived or she would start a fresh one with Tatiana Golovin or Shahar Peer, two of the game's top young talents. But the Top 3 seeds all faltered prior to that possibility and in the end it was No.4 seed Lindsay Davenport who emerged triumphant at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships & Cellular South Cup, capturing the title after a 62 61 win over No.5 seed Olga Govortsova in the title match on Saturday night in Memphis.
Davenport leaves Memphis with her 55th career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title, a figure that ties her for No.7 on the all-time list of title-winners with Virginia Wade. She came back to the Tour last fall at No.9, tied Monica Seles for No.8 with her title in Québec City in November, passed Seles with her title in Auckland in January and is now on par with Wade.
"I've never been one to look at the records but obviously it's great. It all seems surreal to me. To be up there with some of the greatest players who have ever played; I still can't believe I passed Monica, she was my idol for such a long time. It's something I'll probably think about when I stop playing."
Davenport had a rocky start to her week in Memphis, toughing out a 75 63 win in the first round over German phenom Sabine Lisicki, a player that beat her in Fed Cup play earlier this season. But she was on cruise control from then on, losing a total of just 10 games through her next four matches, including a 60 62 drubbing of No.6 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals then the aforementioned victory over Govortsova. Aside from that opening win over Lisicki, which lasted 71 minutes, none of her wins took more than an hour.
"I really wanted to get that first set of the tournament under my belt; once I did that I could relax and play my game," Davenport said about the Lisicki match. "By playing her in Fed Cup I had a better idea of what to expect from her. Once I got through that one I felt more confident for the other four matches. I served well and dictated the points, which is very important for my game."
While Davenport made it over her first hurdle, it was not a great ending for the tournament's Top 2 seeds Tuesday, as Williams and Golovin suffered their worst losses in years - and for the American her career - to extremely unheralded opponents. Williams, the top seed here, succumbed to No.143-ranked qualifier Petra Kvitova; Golovin, the No.2 seed, fell to No.148-ranked Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Peer, who was the No.3 seed this week, fell to Govortsova in the semis. That win propelled the Belarusian into her first Tour final, a good kick start to a year that saw her lose first or second round in her first five tournaments.
"I knew she served well, but I didn't know she served THAT well," Govortsova declared. "It seemed like she hit two aces in every service game. My first serve wasn't working well and she returns so well, so it was really hard for me to hold. I learned a lot today so I'll hopefully do better next time I play her. But it has been a good week for me, beating a player like Peer and making my first final."
Davenport will play back-to-back events at Indian Wells and Miami now, tournaments where she has been very successful in the past. After falling in the second round of the Australian Open she'll be motivated to prove she can still do it on some of the world's biggest stages.
"Obviously I didn't do that well down in Australia, but there are another few big tournaments coming up and I really want to do well in those," Davenport said. "Hopefully my results this week can give me some confidence going into those events. I can't control who my opponents are or really how the matches go. I just focus on how I'm playing and do my best every time I go out there."
And just a little while later she did go out there and play her best, capturing the doubles title in the last match of the night. Davenport and countrywoman Lisa Raymond dismissed fellow Americans Angela Haynes and Mashona Washington in straight sets, 63 63, for their ninth Tour doubles title together. It was Davenport's first since returning to the Tour last September; she became the first player to sweep singles and doubles at the same Tour event since Dinara Safina did the same at Gold Coast in the first week of the 2007 season.