Davenport drills Tuly in two
By Matthew Cronin
Thursday, May 29, 2003
Sixth seed Lindsay Davenport overcame nemesis Iroda Tulyaganova 7-5 6-1 in the second round on Thursday to set up a highly anticipated match with France's Natalie Dechy.
But Argentina's Paola Suarez wiped out Davenport's former doubles partner, Corina Morariu, and James Blake fell in four sets to Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic.
With Blake's defeat, only three American men remain in the draw: second seed Andre Agassi and unseeded Vince Spadea and Todd Martin.
After nearly being knocked out of the Australian Open by Tulyaganova, Davenport approached Thursday's contest with a lot of trepidation, especially because they were playing on red dirt, the Uzbekistan native's favorite surface.
"The last two times we played were very close and I thought that clay would favor her even more," Davenport said. "But it wasn't a high level of play out there. It was one of those days when you're lucky your opponent doesn't play great and you're happy to get through."
But Davenport never allowed Tulyaganova to stretch her out in long rallies or dominate the court with her big topspin forehands. Both women played fairly sloppy tennis until 5-5 in the first set, when Davenport broke her. The American then successfully served out the set.
In the second set, Davenport began to find the range on her huge groundstrokes, while Tulyaganova completely lost control. The tall American was successful when approaching the net, converting nine of 11 rushes. Tulyaganova committed a remarkable 37 unforced errors in the contest to 26 from her opponent.
"I started to build points better," Davenport said. "Another big thing was getting in some first serves. I had been getting stuck hitting way too many second serves."
A 1998 semi finalist here, Davenport is playing her first tournament since being married five weeks ago. Clay has always been the three-time Grand Slam champion's worst surface, but she feels like she can still do some damage.
"My movement is always a concern and I try to work hard on that," she said. "On clay, it's just so bad. I see people get my balls back that on hard courts they probably wouldn't. They slide 10 feet, get them back, we start the point again. Unfortunately, I do not have the ability to do that - but there's no question I feel like I'm more athletic now and my ability to move forward has gotten better. I'm never going to be a true clay court mover, but I'm better than the last time I was here in 2000."
Davenport will face No25 seed Dechy, whom she has never played before. A very athletic counterpuncher who runs capably, Dechy believes she can threaten Davenport.
"I'm very eager to play her and reach my best level against her," said Dechy. "She's not as consistent as she was two to three years ago, but she still has the ability to play well. But if I play well, I can bother her."
The crowd will obviously be behind their countrywoman, but Davenport has played French players in France before and doesn't think she'll be affected.
"The French crowd gets behind their players very much, sometimes to the detriment of them and sometimes they pull them through," Davenport said.
what the hell is wrong with dechy.... like she feels she can beat davenport??? my ass..... she has never won against davenport and in fact lost to her twice so far.... and this guys who wrote the article, matthew cronin, is simply such a dumbass... davenport met dechy twice before 2000....