Lindsay Davenport rose to the No. 1 ranking last year without winning a Grand Slam. Now she has a chance to cement her hold on the top spot at the same tournament where she won her last major five years ago.
Recovered from a bout of bronchitis she suffered just before the Australian Open, top-seeded Davenport advanced to the semifinals by outlasting Olympic bronze medalist Alicia Molik 6-4, 4-6, 9-7 on Wednesday.
She will face France's Nathalie Dechy, who reached a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time after failing to get past the fourth round in 36 previous majors. Dechy, seeded 19th, ousted No. 12 Patty Schnyder 5-7, 6-1, 7-5.
But while the two women's quarterfinals lasted exactly the same time -- 2 hours, 33 minutes -- Davenport then headed back out to advance to the doubles finals with Corina Morariu with a three-set victory that took another 1:44. She said she never considered defaulting to improve her singles prospects.
"It's my partner's birthday. And I feel fine," Davenport said between matches.
She'll have only about 20 hours to recover, with her semifinal following Thursday's matchup between fourth-seeded Maria Sharapova and No. 7 Serena Williams in a rematch of last year's Wimbledon final, when the 17-year-old Sharapova won her first Grand Slam title.
"It's tough to come back again tomorrow," Davenport said.
By contrast, second-seeded Andy Roddick has been happy to keep his mileage down after running out of gas two years ago.
Averaging just 1 1/2 hours per match, Roddick advanced to the men's semifinals when Russia's Nikolay Davydenko, suffering from breathing problems for the second consecutive match, called it quits after falling behind 6-3, 7-5, 4-1. The other semifinal pairs defending champion Roger Federer and fourth-seeded Marat Safin in a rematch of last year's final.
"It's been pretty smooth sailing so far," said Roddick, who has only dropped one set in five matches and next faces the winner of the late match between third-seeded Lleyton Hewitt and No. 9 David Nalbandian. ``That could end up being a good thing. I don't have many miles on me so far.''
The 22-year-old Roddick reached the semifinals here in 2003, losing to Rainer Schuettler after he'd clinched a draining quarterfinal win over Morocco's Younes El Aynaoui with the longest fifth set in Grand Slam history, 21-19.
Davydenko complained of breathing problems just before finishing off a straight-sets quarterfinal victory two days ago. He called for the trainer in the second set after Roddick broke him for a 3-2 lead.
"We played a couple really long points and then he made a couple easy errors afterwards, after those long points," Roddick said. "I didn't know if it was coincidence or if he was actually feeling it. When he called the trainer, I figured he had to be struggling a little bit, especially when I saw him with the inhaler. It looked pretty serious."
Davydenko recovered briefly, breaking back in the next game as Roddick committed his only two double-faults. But he was soon laboring again and finally retired after getting broken for the second time in the third set to trail 4-1.
He received medical treatment more than an hour after the match.
"It was very hot," Davydenko said. "I couldn't breathe. I cannot run, I cannot control the ball. I don't know what it is."
Davenport had to fend off two break points in the last game, before closing with a powerful forehand that the 10th-seeded Molik couldn't reach.