Fri, Aug 24, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Davydenko, Kuznetsova survive at Pilot Pen

AP , NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT

Donald Young of the US returns a shot to Nikolay Davydenko of Russia in the Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut on Wednesday. Davydenko defeated Young 6-2,4-6,7-5.

PHOTO: AFP

Top seeds Nikolay Davydenko and Svetlana Kuznetsova survived scares at the Pilot Pen and Lindsay Davenport returned to the court on Wednesday after taking almost a year off to have a child.

Davydenko beat 18-year-old US player Donald Young 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, dropping the Junior Wimbledon champion to 1-12 in ATP matches. He won his first here two days ago.

"It just feels good to kind of know you can play with the guys after everything, that you can actually go out there and play with some of the top guys in the world," Young said.

Kuznetsova was up 4-2 before dropping the first set to Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 4-6. She bounced back to take the next two 6-1, 6-4.

The Russian had to wait until the final match to play her first tennis of the tournament, and said it took her some time to shake off the rust.

"I had two days off for small injuries after Toronto, then I had practice, but it was raining and kind of messed up a bit," she said. "I was feeling good but still didn't have enough rhythm."

Three-time major champion Davenport and partner Lisa Raymond were beaten by the top doubles team in the world, Cara Black and Liezel Huber, 6-7 (1), 6-3, and 10-4 in the match tiebreaker.

But for Davenport, it wasn't all about winning or losing.

"It was fun to be back," she said. "Obviously, this is the first step in a long process."

Davenport had not played since last September, and gave birth to her first child, Jagger Jonathan Leach, in June. She plans to return to singles play next month at a tournament in Bali.

"I feel I'm still very good at my job and having a child doesn't mean you have to abandon all your career and everything," she said. "I feel like while he's this young, and so far this good, I can drag him around the world and try and do what I still love to do."

Davenport lamented having to play the top seeds in the first round. Black and Huber have already won six doubles titles this year, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

Young was two points away from beating Davydenko, leading 5-4 in the third and up 15-30.

But the Russian served out, broke Young in the next game and watched as his US opponent's forehand sailed just long at 40-30 to win the match. The call was made by the chair umpire.

Davydenko, who is ranked fifth in the world, has been at the center of an ATP investigation into suspicious betting patterns on a match he played in Poland on Aug. 2 with Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina.

Davydenko denied doing anything wrong and said the controversy has been weighing on him.

"Normally, I try not to read so many newspapers," he said. "When you get a very important tournament coming up, its very tough for me mentally to focus well."

There was an upset in the women's singles when qualifier Agnes Szavay of Hungary upset second-seeded Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 6-3 on in the second round.

After a close first set, Szavay broke Hantuchova in the fifth game of the second, finishing with a perfect backhand drop shot. Hantuchova broke back in the next game, but couldn't hold serve as Szavay took control. Hantuchova saved two match points before being broken in the final game.

"She was very brave and moved very well," Hantuchova said. "She deserved to win."

Third-seeded Marion Bartoli of France defeated Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain 6-0, 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals.

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