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Tennis: Davenport wins 18 stragiht

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posted on Aug, 31 2004 @ 08:22 PM
The fifth-seeded Davenport stretched her winning streak to 18 matches by beating Lubomira Kurhajcova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-0 Tuesday in the U.S. Open's first round.

Just two months ago, the 28-year-old Davenport was talking about retiring after this season. When she lost to Maria Sharapova in the Wimbledon semifinals, Davenport said it probably would be her final appearance at the All England Club.

What a mistake that would be, given her recent form. Davenport has won her last four tournaments, all played on hard courts just like the Open.

"Maybe that took some pressure off me, just to think: 'Oh, who cares what happens now,"' said Davenport, who built a 36-7 edge in winners and needed just 50 minutes to beat Kurhajcova. "Going to see how I feel in November and take it from there."

Asked if she could imagine not being at the 2005 U.S. Open, Davenport said: "Some days, yes."

Her first Grand Slam trophy came at the 1998 U.S. Open, and she later added titles at Wimbledon in 1999 and the Australian Open in 2000 to her resume, along with a stint at No. 1.

But she's had health problems recently, including operations on her right knee in 2002 and her left foot last year.

"If I play next year, I want to make sure that I'm committed for the year and that I can play through the good times and the bad times and be mentally strong all year," she said. "I'm going to have to really see if I can do that."

BAD BREAK: Ivan Ljubicic quit during his first-round match at the U.S. Open with what could best be called a bad break.

The Olympic doubles bronze medalist, seeded 24th at the Open, had to stop at 1-1 in the third set Tuesday against Lee Hyung-taik because a broken rib hurt too much. How did Ljubicic get injured? A pal wrapped his arms around Ljubicic to crack his back - and squeezed too hard.

It happened Thursday, and the Croatian got an MRI exam Friday.

"They said it's a little, tiny fracture," said Ljubicic, who won the first set against Lee 6-3, then lost the second by the same score. "The doctor said it wouldn't get worse by playing."

After one set Tuesday, though, "The pain was unsupportable," Ljubicic said.

He still might give it a shot in doubles at the Open with Mario Ancic, his partner at the Athens Games.

Asked who was responsible for trying to help but instead hurting him, Ljubicic said: "I don't think it's right to say his name. He's not really guilty."

SMALL BONUS: Elena Likhovtseva saved the U.S. Tennis Association a wad of cash by losing in the first round of the U.S. Open.

Likhovtseva finished third in the inaugural US Open Series standings, based on how players fared on the North American summer hard-court circuit.

The No. 1 man and woman in the series each get a 50 percent bonus on top of whatever they earn in singles competition at the U.S. Open. The second-place finishers get a 25 percent bonus, and third-place finishers get 10 percent extra.

For the 25th-seeded Likhovtseva, beaten 7-6 (3), 6-3 by Maria Kirilenko in an all-Russian match, it means she'll only take home the minimum extra, $1,400, tacked on to the $14,000 she gets for losing in the first round.

Had she won the title, Likhovtseva would have won a $100,000 bonus in addition to the $1,000,000 winner's check.

"It's the worst match I've played so far this year," said Likhovtseva, who was treated for a left leg injury.

PLAYING IN PAIN: Paul Goldstein couldn't believe his luck. Just 1 1/2 hours after qualifying for the U.S. Open last Friday, he went out to play in the World Team Tennis semifinals - and exactly three points in, he sprained his left ankle.

With treatment, including acupuncture, Goldstein felt healthy enough to play his first Grand Slam match in three years, and he went out Tuesday and beat Takao Suzuki of Japan 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.

"I wasn't kicking myself for playing World Team Tennis," Goldstein said, "but I was discouraged about the timing."

He came in with a 2-4 record in tour-level matches in 2004, and, recently married, has thought about retiring.

"I hadn't had great results coming into this tournament, and I wasn't sure how much longer I wanted to play," said Goldstein, his ankle protected by a plastic walking boot. "A week like this - it brings a lot of the joy back."

The 1999 Pan Am Games gold medalist hadn't played in a major's main draw since a first-round loss at the 2001 French Open. Now he can match his best career showing at a Slam by getting to the third round with a win against No. 15 Paradorn Srichaphan.

Goldstein was a classmate of Chelsea Clinton's in high school in Washington, D.C., and in college at Stanford from 1995-98, when he became the first player to win NCAA championships all four years.

posted on Sep, 1 2004 @ 09:32 AM
she looks to be back on form


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