Davenport heads to Eastbourne final


EASTBOURNE, England, AFP

Lindsay Davenport won 10 of the last 11 games Friday to whip Chanda Rubin 6 1, 6-1 for a place in the final of the US$565,000 Eastbourne tournament. The American top seed was impeccable on the grass of Devonshire Park as she continued to make steady progress upon her return to competition after three months out with a knee injury.

Davenport, who won Wimbledon in 1999, broke the unseeded Rubin in the last game of the first set and started the next set with an ace in a show of her intentions on the grass. The rangy Californian proceeded to compile nine games in succession before Rubin temporarily broke the spell, saving a pair of match points while trailing 5-1. The challenger staved off the inevitable as she benefited when Davenport returned just long on the first match winning chance and made another unforced error to squander the second. After Rubin won the sixth game, Davenport powered back to conclude the victory with an ace a game later after just 54 minutes on court.

“Sometimes, things just click,” said a delighted Davenport. “It shows that you can really turn your game around. Yesterday, I lost the first set (against Silvia Farina Elia) and then really got going. “I was able to keep up the momentum today. It’s important to never give up. I’m glad I was able to get my game going and keep it going.” The win was the seventh for Davenport in the series with her compatriot against just two defeats which she took early in her career in 1993 and 1995. The Friday victory under sunny skies and in slightly chilly conditions was Davenport’s fifth in a row against Rubin. The top seed has been using this week to polish her game to prepare for Wimbledon, where she begins as third seed behind Martina Hingis and Venus Williams Monday.