Davenport Assumes Role of Danger Woman
Her first mission of the year accomplished, former world tennis No.1 Lindsay Davenport will head into next week's Australian Open assuming the role of dangerous floater.
Davenport, 31, continued her fine comeback to the WTA Tour with a dominant victory in the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland on Saturday to claim her 54th singles title.
The American was scarcely troubled as she completed a 6-2 6-2 result over unseeded Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai in just 51 minutes.
It was the third title in four events for Davenport since she returned to the circuit last September after the birth of her first child.
She said she didn't yet have a specific goal in terms of how far she felt she could advance in the Australian Open, which she won in 2000 for one of three Grand Slam crowns.
She will be unseeded in Melbourne and much would depend on the draw.
"Sitting here now, I would be really excited to get to the quarter-finals," she said.
"I don't know the level of the top few girls and don't know exactly where I am compared with them. But I feel like I'm better than a lot of the girls out there and I'd like the opportunity to show that."
There were "probably about five" opponents Davenport wanted to avoid first up, including world No.1 Justine Henin and the Williams sisters, Venus and defending champion Serena.
"Having said that, they're more vulnerable in the first round," she said.
"But I definitely see myself as the biggest floater in the draw. I'm sure no one would be excited to get me in the first round as well. Hopefully I'll get to work my way into the tournament."
Davenport's other post-natal wins have been in Bali and Quebec City, while she made the semi-finals in Beijing.
When she arrived in Auckland, her sights were set on maintaining that momentum.
"I came here with the goal of winning this tournament and, being unseeded, you never know how the draw turns out," she said.
"But I was happy with the way I was able to play well at times, not perfectly at others, but really come through the tournament and just lose the one set."
Overall, she was surprised at how well she had progressed over the past 3-1/2 months, even if she was still searching for more consistency in her shot-making.
"I started off playing a few of the smaller tournaments, tier threes and fours, and it's astonished me," she said.
"I didn't think my body would bounce back as fast as it has after giving birth, and the strain of pregnancy, so I'm excited now about going to the huge stage of the Australian Open and seeing what can happen."
I think she's ready to play Melbourne!
If she can avoid Justine, Maria, Serena, and Venus in the early rounds she can make it into the second week. I'd like her chances again anyone else though.
Here's hoping for a good draw!