S.Williams Beats Davenport at Estyle

Monday, August 14th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP) — The Williams family's winning streak is at four, and counting. Serena Williams intends to keep it going.

Serena capped a weekend in which she beat the world's two top-ranked players by outlasting Lindsay Davenport 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1) Sunday to successfully defend her championship in the estyle.com Classic.

The tournament at the Manhattan Country Club was the first for the 18-year-old Serena since Wimbledon, where she lost to older sister Venus in the semifinals.

Venus Williams beat Davenport in the final at Wimbledon for her first Grand Slam title, then prevailed in the Bank of the West and Acura tournaments before taking this week off.

Davenport was runner-up in the Bank of the West, too.

``I'm trying,'' Serena said with a smile. ``Venus won the first two events (after Wimbledon). It's up to me to win the next two. I'm off to a good start.''

Serena will play in the du Maurier Open at Montreal this week, and probably not enter the Pilot Pen tournament in New Haven, Conn., next week. The U.S. Open begins in two weeks. Serena won the U.S. Open last year — her only Grand Slam title — after winning this tournament.

Seeded fifth here and ranked seventh in the world mainly because she hasn't played much this year, Serena rallied for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Martina Hingis, the world's top-ranked player and No. 1 seed, in Saturday's semifinals.

Despite the two impressive comeback wins, Serena said she has a long way to go.

``I haven't even begun. I'm just warming up, basically,'' she said. ``I don't think I played well at all. I don't know how I pulled it through. I wasn't the same spunky person you usually see. Obviously, my groundstrokes really came through for me. I didn't serve well at all.''

Davenport, ranked second in the world, broke Williams' serve in the 11th game of the third set to take a 6-5 lead.

Then, serving for the match, Davenport failed to get a point, and Williams carried that momentum into the tiebreaker.

Williams won 11 of the final 12 points of the match to improve her lifetime record against Davenport to 5-1.

``I can't remember a match where I had so many chances and it didn't go my way,'' the 24-year-old Davenport said. ``So many times I was up and it seemed like my service left me.

``Leaving a match when you should have won is always a hard thing to do. It was bad serving at certain times of the match. Everything else went well.''

Davenport broke Williams' serve in the first, fifth and 11th games of the third set, but Williams broke back in the fourth, sixth and 12th games.

Davenport committed 13 double faults, which she called ``an extraordinarily high number for me,'' and had nine aces.

Williams double-faulted eight times and had eight aces.

``At the end, I switched up rather than doing the same old thing,'' Williams said, pointing out she charged the net more in the late going. ``That helped me a lot. If Plan A isn't working, I have Plan B, Plan C and even Plan D.''

The only service break of the first set came in the ninth game, when Williams double-faulted twice — the second on game point. Davenport then held serve to win the set.

Davenport carried her momentum into the second set, breaking Williams thanks in part to a double fault on the game's final point to take a 1-0 lead. That would be the first of five breaks in the set.

After Davenport held in her first seven service games of the match, Williams broke in the sixth, eighth and 10th games of the second set to offset a break by Davenport in the seventh game.

Then came the back-and-forth third set.

Williams won $87,000 and Davenport, seeded No. 2, earned $43,500 from the $535,000 purse. The temperature was measured at 92 degrees when the match began, but was several degrees higher on the court.