Sun, Mar 20, 2005 - Page 23 News List

Davenport, Clijsters reach finals

AP , INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

Lindsay Davenport and Kim Clijsters reached the women's final while Andre Agassi withdrew with a sore and swollen toe at the Pacific Life Open on Friday.

Top-ranked Davenport crushed Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-0 to snap the Russian's 12-match winning streak, while Clijsters beat Elena Dementieva 6-4, 6-2 to set up a rematch of the 2003 final, which Clijsters won.

Davenport won the Indian Wells title in 1997 and 2000, and lost the final the last two years.

Agassi pulled out of his scheduled quarterfinal against Lleyton Hewitt, the first time he was unable to take the court for a match in his storied career -- 1,092 matches. Injuries had previously forced him to pull out before tournaments began, and he has had to retire during matches. But he had never failed to at least start playing when he was scheduled.

Agassi, 34, last played on Wednesday, and said he was uncertain what the injury was, but that his left big toe began bothering him the next day.

"When I woke up [Friday], it was blown up like a balloon, twice the size. I was pretty shocked by what I saw. I can't bend it or move on it," Agassi said, explaining that the soreness was in the knuckle of the toe.

"It's just impossible for me to do anything. This is certainly not the way you want to see any tournament go, for the sake of all those involved. It's disappointing, for sure."

He said he doesn't know when he will be able to play again.

Agassi, a former No. 1 now ranked No. 9, said he had been looking forward to facing Hewitt, himself a former No. 1 who's ranked third.

"I am disappointed that Andre had to pull out today," Hewitt said. "We have had a lot of good, tough matches in the past. I have to look at the positive side as well. This just put me into another semifinals at Indian Wells."

Agassi made his ATP debut in the tournament as a 15-year-old in 1986, losing to Mats Wilander in the second round. Agassi won the title in 2001, beating Hewitt in the semifinals. Agassi also made the final in 1990 and 1995.

Davenport won the first set from third-seeded Sharapova in just 19 minutes. The Russian had only one break point, when Davenport served for the match. The American won 52 of the 75 total points. Clijsters was sidelined for most of the past year because of a left wrist injury which needed surgery in June. Her ranking fell from No. 2 to 133, and she has become the lowest ranked player in 15 years to reach a Tier 1 event final on the WTA Tour.

Clijsters broke Dementieva in the 10th game for the first set, and raced to 3-1 in the second, after which the fourth-seeded Russian took a timeout for a hip flexor injury.

Dementieva returned to court with the right thigh strapped, and broke Clijsters in the next game, but the Belgian reeled off the next three games for the match.

Dementieva committed six double faults, the last on match point.

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