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Dementieva Scores Early Knockout of Davenport

November 16, 2000|From Staff and Wire Reports

Russian teenager Elena Dementieva knocked defending champion Lindsay Davenport out of the Chase Championships with a 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory Wednesday night at New York.

It was only the second time the defending champion lost in the first round in the 28-year history of the tournament, the other coming when Jana Novotna was bounced by Steffi Graf in 1998.

Davenport is one of the biggest hitters in women's tennis, but Dementieva matched her stroke for stroke in a baseline battle.

"It was not the best way to end a year," Davenport said.

Dementieva is no surprise. The 19-year-old Russian reached the semifinals in the U.S. Open, losing to Davenport, and was the silver medalist in the Sydney Olympics. But it was the first time she has beaten Davenport in six career meetings.

"She just won a tournament. I think she was a little bit tired," a gracious Dementieva said of her opponent. Davenport won the Advanta Championships in Philadelphia on Sunday.

"It's funny," Davenport said. "If you look at my first rounds here the last few years, I've always struggled in the first round. . . . I don't know if it is just getting used to that court at first and getting into playing here, but I've always had trouble in the first round.

"But a match like that, I think I'm probably more shellshocked, not with the way I played, but not winning it."

The victory sends Dementieva into a quarterfinal matchup against 17-year-old Kim Clijsters of Belgium, who ousted fifth-seeded Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

Earlier in the day, third-seeded Monica Seles, playing in her final tournament at Madison Square Garden, overpowered Sandrine Testud of France, 6-3, 6-4, and sixth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat of France defeated Amy Frazier, 6-3, 6-2.

Seles, seeded third in the 16-player field, will take on Amanda Coetzer in her next round. Seles has won the season-ending event three times, but not since 1992.

"I have so many thrills in my life on this court," said Seles, who will not follow the Championships to Munich next year. "I was playing on emotion."

Seles has refused to play in Germany since she was stabbed during a match in Hamburg in 1993.

*

Marat Safin, the U.S. Open champion trying to hold onto the top spot in the world rankings, defeated Swiss qualifier George Bastl, 7-5, 6-4, in the second round of the Paris Masters.

"I'd like to say thank you very much," the 21-year-old Russian said to the crowd. "I'm looking forward to your helping me become No. 1 in the world this week."

Safin will face Frenchman Sebastian Grosjean today.

Australia's Patrick Rafter also reached the third round of the $2.95-million tournament, defeating Frenchman Julien Boutter, 6-3, 6-2, to set up a match against top-seeded Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil.

When Rafter and Kuerten met last week in the Lyon quarterfinals, the Australian won in straight sets, enabling Safin to claim the top spot in the world rankings.

In other action, Grosjean beat Germany's Tommy Haas, 7-5, 6-4, and Michael Chang beat Harel Levy of Israel, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4.

Also, Italy's Gianluca Pozzi eliminated seventh-seeded Thomas Enqvist of Sweden, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (5), in a third-round match; and Jan-Michael Gambill defeated Stephane Huet of France, 6-3, 7-5.

Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero beat Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, and German qualifier David Prinosil defeated Franco Squillari of Argentina, 6-3, 6-3.

Soccer

German defender Lothar Matthaeus' contract with Major League Soccer expired Wednesday, and MLS Commissioner Don Garber confirmed the former FIFA player of the year won't return for a second season.

"We wish him well," Garber said. "I personally got to know him, and learned from him what an international player thinks is necessary for MLS to raise its profile and credibility overseas."

Matthaeus, 39, who had a turbulent year with the New York-New Jersey MetroStars, wasn't available for comment.

North Korea is welcome to co-host the 2002 World Cup, joining South Korea and Japan, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said in Tokyo. "The door is open," he said. Blatter said FIFA's executive committee, which meets Dec. 10-11 in Rome, will discuss the issue.

Olympiakos was fined $100,000 by UEFA for an assault on game officials by members of the Greek team in a 1-0 loss to Lyon in a Champions League game and midfielder Ze Elias of Brazil was suspended from UEFA matches for 10 months.

Miscellany

Olympic bid executives Tom Welch and Dave Johnson did nothing illegal even if they dispensed money to win the 2002 Winter Games, their lawyers said in a motion asking a federal magistrate to toss out a 15-count indictment.

In a 60-page motion, three defense lawyers challenged every point of the U.S. Justice Department's bribery case. They filed a second motion asking for dismissal of the single conspiracy charge. A third motion seeks disclosure of government legal instructions to the grand jury that handed up the indictments.

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