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Andrew.
Jan 10th, 2004, 08:09 PM
Davenport eyes Open
By Tom Wald
January 10, 2004

LINDSAY Davenport provided a telling reminder of her Australian Open credentials after leading the United States to victory over the Slovak Republic in the Hopman Cup today.

The three-time Grand Slam winner has returned from foot surgery in blistering form at the mixed teams event, having not dropped a set in eight matches.

She and James Blake made the US the first nation to win back-to-back Hopman Cups after defeating Karol Kucera and Daniela Hantuchova 6-2 6-3 in the deciding mixed doubles.

It was the United States' third win at the 16th Hopman Cup.

Kucera provided a temporary roadblock by defeating Blake in a thrilling singles rubber 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5) while an out-of-sorts Hantuchova was belted 6-2 6-3.

The unseeded Europeans only made the final courtesy of injuries to Australia's Alicia Molik and Belgium's Kim Clijsters.

But the story at the Burswood Dome this week has been the resurgence of 2000 Australian Open champion Davenport - just a week out from the Australian Open.

The world No.5's scalps have included top ten players Amelie Mauresmo (No.4) and Anastasia Myskina (No.7) as well as No.19 Hantuchova and unheralded teenager Barbora Strycova.

The big Californian's stocks have risen by the day with Serena Williams' withdrawal and world No.2 Clijsters highly unlikely to play in Melbourne, let alone make an impact because of an ankle injury.

Clijsters, in particular, has gained an ascendancy over Davenport in the last 12 months with the Belgian defeating her the five times they met in 2003.

Davenport, 27, says she is refreshed after returning from surgery and Clijsters' expected absence will only advantage her.

She was not prepared to set any goals for Melbourne having not won one of the big four tournaments since 2000.

Davenport has been seeded fifth, while the elder and No.11-ranked Venus Williams was set to be made third seed ahead of her.

The American said Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne had to be a clear favourite for her first Australian Open crown.

The pair endured an epic battle in the round of 16 last year at the Open with the gritty Henin-Hardenne prevailing 9-7 in the last set.

"You have to put Justine up there pretty far up above everybody just by winning two (Grand Slams) last year and being No.1 in the world," she said.

"I have always in the last couple of grand Slams considered myself in the next tier but I think she is clearly the favourite and there is a lot of us real close to her."

Davenport flies to Sydney for the adidas International tomorrow and said she would use it to adjust to the wind and the heat before the opening Grand Slam of the year.

She slammed home 12 aces to one today against the out-of-sorts Hantuchova and was barely troubled as she smashed the skinny Slovak in 51 minutes.

Lindsayfan
Jan 10th, 2004, 09:00 PM
*fingers crossed*

RayRob
Jan 11th, 2004, 03:35 PM
Yes, the Hopman Cup was a great confidance boost for Lindsay - especially since she has never won the Hopman cup before. We can only look at all this in a possitive light! :bounce:

Go Lindsay!
-Rachel :wavey:

Nikki
Jan 11th, 2004, 04:41 PM
Thanks for the article. She certainly improved as the week went on in the Hopman Cup. Hopefully this will continue:)