Sat, Aug 26, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Davenport beats Mauresmo again

US OPEN TUNE-UP Davenport defeated the No. 1 player in straight sets to improve her record to 12-3

AFP , NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT

France's Amelie Mauresmo reacts after going down 6-5 in the second set of her women's singles quarter-final loss to Lindsay Davenport in the Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament in New Haven, Connecticut, on Thursday.

PHOTO: AP

US Veteran Lindsay Davenport extended her winning streak against world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo to 11 matches on Thursday when she upset the top seed to reach the semi-finals of this US Open tune-up.

The seventh-seeded Davenport, a three-time Grand Slam champion who has been hindered by a back injury much of this year, subdued the reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion 6-4, 7-5 in 1 hour, 25 minutes.

"If you told me I would have beaten the No. 1 player in the world sometime in the last six months, I probably would not have believed you," Davenport said.

The 30-year-old defending champion here has now improved her record to 12-3 against the French woman, having won their last 11 encounters.

Mauresmo's last victory over Davenport was in the WTA Sydney final in 2000.

Once again, Davenport proved too good for Mauresmo, who blew hot and cold throughout the match.

The American dictated play with her explosive groundstrokes, fired eight aces and wowed Mauresmo with her heavy shots.

"I felt I didn't have many chances on my serve," said Mauresmo, who was playing her first tournament since her Wimbledon triumph.

"I was a little erratic at times and at others I played great. I didn't expect miracles coming into the tournament. I feel I'm at 80 percent of what I can do. I'm not worried for next week. I will be ready for the Open," she said.

After clinching the opening set in 38 minutes, Davenport went up 3-1 in the second.

Mauresmo restored parity at 3-3, but dropped her serve in the ninth game.

Davenport, a former world No. 1 who has dropped outside the top 10, couldn't immediately close it out.

Two games later, however, Davenport put the match away when Mauresmo clunked her forehand into the net.

"I thought the first set was at a high level. I thought the second set was definitely a lot more sloppy," Davenport said. "I hung in there. I kept getting broken. I kept coming back right away and breaking serve."

Davenport next faces Australian lucky loser Samantha Stosur, who overpowered France's Marion Bartoli 7-6 (7/2), 6-0 in 64 minutes.

Doubles specialist Stosur, ranked 36th in the world in singles, beat Davenport last week in Los Angeles in the American's first match since March.

"I feel like I'm a little more on top of my shots, in control of my movement and my game out there. Hopefully I can give her a better shot than I did there," Davenport said.

Stosur knew she would have her hands full.

"It's going to be tough," she said. "We both love to overpower our opponent from the baseline. It's going to be a slugfest."

The other semi-final will pit the second-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne against fifth-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The 24-year-old Belgian, returning from a back injury, overpowered Italian lucky-loser Mara Santangelo 6-3, 6-2 while Kuznetsova edged compatriot Elena Dementieva, the third seed, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in a repeat of the 2004 US Open final.

In men's action, second-seeded Nikolay Davydenko booked safe passage into the semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Belgian Olivier Rochus.

Yesterday, the 25-year-old Russian was to meet Sweden's Robin Soderling, who made short work of Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-2 on Thursday.

In the second semi-final, Belgian Xavier Malisse, who ousted Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, was to square off with Argentina's Agustin Calleri, a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 winner over reigning Olympic gold medalist Nicolas Massu of Chile.

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