posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 04:06 AM
Serena Williams regained the Australian Open title with a remarkable come-from-behind victory over Lindsay Davenport. Williams, who needed lengthy
treatment for a back problem in the first set, won the last nine games as Davenport collapsed to clinch a 2-6 6-3 6-0 victory on the Rod Laver
Davenport appeared to be on her way to lifting the trophy until the eighth game of the second set. Serving at 3-4, the top seed put a simple backhand
wide at 40-0 and lost the next four points, the last with a double fault, to hand the 2003 champion her first break of serve of the match. Davenport
did not win another game. Upon receiving the trophy from Australian legend Margaret Court, Williams explained she felt a back twinge when she when for
an early backhand.
"Lindsay had me on the run and my back went out. I'm not as young as I used to be. Eventually I was able to come back, thank goodness.
"I know sometimes I have a bad attitude on court, but it paid off."
In the first set, the world number one could do no wrong and she looked set to make the most of Williams' injury. Davenport raced into a 4-1 lead at
which stage Williams called for the trainer. The damage was already done as Davenport served out the first set 6-2. Williams began to find her game in
the second set and crucially fought off six break points in an epic fifth game. She would later pin-point that moment as the key to her success.
Had she dropped serve there, Davenport may have cantered to victory. Instead Williams, who had to save three match points in her semi-final against
Maria Sharapova, remained very much alive and she took full advantage in that sloppy eighth game from Davenport. The third set was embarrassingly
one-sided with Davenport's game falling apart around her. Her first-serve percentage, constantly around 70 in the first set and a half, slumped and
her groundstrokes - which regularly found the sidelines early on - began to drift wide and long.
Williams never let up and raced through the deciding set in just 20 minutes to clinch the seventh Grand Slam title of her career. Afterwards a
gracious Davenport told the crowd: "I hope to see you again". However, at 28, this may well have been her last title bid Down Under. She added:
"Congratulations to Serena. She's had a tough couple of years. To come back like the tough champion she is, everyone should applaud her."