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tennisIlove09
Apr 12th, 2003, 10:43 PM
Serena Tops Davenport at Family Circle
1 hour, 35 minutes ago

By PETE IACOBELLI, AP Sports Writer

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Serena Williams (news - web sites) held off a late rally by Lindsay Davenport (news) to stay perfect this season and reach the finals of the Family Circle Cup on Saturday.


AP Photo



Williams won 6-2, 7-5, upping her record to 21-0 this year. She faces Justine Henin-Hardenne for the championship Sunday.


Williams, the world's top player, has been dominant on all surfaces. And she looked particularly strong here as she won eight of the first nine games over Davenport, a former No. 1.


But Davenport, playing her first clay-court tournament in nearly three years, charged back. She was two points away from taking the second set when Williams again found her winning form and closed out the match in powerful fashion.


Williams hit a 108 mph serve to tie things at 5-all. Serving for the match two games later, Williams boomed three aces to finish things as the Stadium Court crowd cheered.


"When I get down, I just seem to relax," said Williams, who beat Davenport for the fifth straight time. "I just take a deep breath and somehow, just seem to play better."


Henin-Hardenne beat 17-year-old American Ashley Harkleroad 6-2, 6-1 in an earlier semifinal.


Williams was pleased with her performance in the first set. She broke Davenport's serve twice and constantly sent balls to places Davenport could never reach.


"I'd have my first serves come back at me for winners," Davenport said. "I've never had that happen to me too often."


Things evened up considerably after that. Williams said she fell back into some bad habits, like hitting balls in the net, not moving up enough and failing to hit through shots. Davenport said she finally got a few more first serves she could handle from Williams and became more aggressive.


Davenport won four of five games during one stretch of the second set to lead 5-4. At 30-all, Davenport faced what looked like a simple putaway down the left sideline, but pushed it wide. She let out a frustrated yell as though she knew she lost a chance to break Williams' streak.


"Somebody will beat her eventually, I just don't know when," Davenport said. "She definitely, I think, has the best serve ever in women's tennis and she plays with such confidence."


Henin-Hardenne, ranked fourth in the world, showed signs she could be such a player against Harkleroad.


Henin-Hardenne used strong serves and a relentless backhand John McEnroe has said is the best single stroke in the game to end the surprise run of Harkleroad, who beat three seeded players to make her first WTA Tour semifinal.


Henin-Hardenne's only victory over Williams in five previous meetings came on clay at Berlin last year.


"I think I can do different things," Henin-Hardenne said. "I can be powerful by myself, too, in my way, and I have many things in my game to play a good match. And why not win this tournament?"


Williams tells anyone who asks she doesn't expect to finish the year perfect.





But "I like to set my goals for the sky, and if I don't reach them, at least I can land on the moon," she said.

King Lindsay
Apr 12th, 2003, 10:46 PM
well, we have the main event, Justine Vs Serena. Will the streak continue?