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Davenport Rides It Out, Wins

Krasnoroutskaya hits stride in second set, but it's too late to avert 6-0, 7-6 (2) loss to fourth- seeded player in third round of Acura Classic.

August 01, 2003|Bill Dwyre | Times Staff Writer

CARLSBAD — Lindsay Davenport made her way into the quarterfinals of the Acura Classic here Thursday night in a tennis match that would have sent Sigmund Freud to the couch.

Davenport beat 19-year-old Russian Lina Krasnoroutskaya, 6-0, 7-6 (2), giving her a spot against Chanda Rubin today. Rubin beat Jelena Dokic, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, and joined Kim Clijsters, Lisa Raymond, Nadia Petrova, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Elena Likhotseva and Svetlana Kuznetsova in the tournament's final eight.

Clijsters, the No. 2-seeded player, routed Marion Bartoli of France, 6-1, 6-1; Raymond reversed her recent Wimbledon outcome against hard-hitting Mary Pierce of France by winning, 7-6 (5), 6-4; Petrova of Russia surprised No. 7-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (6); Henin-Hardenne, this year's French Open champion and the No. 3-seeded player here, outlasted Elena Dementieva of Russia in a mighty struggle, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1; Likhotseva, another Russian who benefited from Jennifer Capriati's injury default Wednesday, surprised No. 10-seeded Magdelena Maleeva of Bulgaria, 6-4, 6-3, and Kuznetsova, another Russian rapidly gaining attention as Martina Navratilova's doubles partner, ousted fellow countryman Elena Bovina, seeded 16th, 7-6 (4), 6-2.

But in all that action, there was nothing quite like Davenport's strange match with Krasnoroutskaya.

Davenport, seeded fourth and playing on a toe with an injured nerve that has flared up from time to time, won the first set in 14 minutes. There was a large charity event that is timed to get the dinner patrons out to the court early during the evening's first match. Many of the guests didn't make it until the second set.

Davenport was either so good or Krasnoroutskaya so bad that Davenport lost no points on her serve in the first set and had 13 winners to none for her opponent, ranked 42nd in the world. Krasnoroutskaya had 11 unforced errors in the set, quite an effort considering the set only took 14 minutes.

And when Davenport broke early in the second set and served a 67-second love game to go up 3-1, still only 23 minutes into the match, it looked like the kind of match where ticket buyers line up for refunds afterward.

But suddenly, stumbling Lina became superwoman Lina. Her movement was crisp, her ground strokes hard and deep. She got her first point against Davenport's serve 34 minutes into the match and went right ahead and finished the game with a break of serve. She stayed ahead at 4-3, 5-4, and 6-5 and actually was two points from winning the second set when Davenport double faulted to love-30, trailing 4-5.

Then, in the tiebreaker, on serve at 1-2, Krasnoroutskaya double-faulted twice. Her body language looked as if, suddenly, she knew she couldn't have hit the ball into the service box if they had put radar on her racket.

Davenport eased out the rest of the way for a 7-2 tiebreaker win and said of Krasnoroutskaya's sudden serving nerves, "That's why you hang around in a match like that, to see how the other player responds when it gets near the end."

The most exciting normal match of the day was Henin-Hardenne's battle with Dementieva. It took 2 hours 18 minutes and the feisty little Belgian, hobbling on a blistered foot, lost the first set after saving six set points and then went down, 4-2 in the second.

At that point, it appeared that a huge upset was in the making. But, as John Wayne would say, Henin-Hardenne showed her True Grit.

When Henin Hardenne was broken at 2-3, the two played a tremendous point of long baseline rallies and tough angles that Dementieva won with a closing volley for a break point that she quickly converted. After the long point, Henin-Hardenne bent over at the baseline and dropped her racket, as if to say, "what do I have to do to win a point."

But later, Dementieva admitted that, it was at that point she had no gas left in the tank.

"I was so tired then, I had nothing left," she said.

She couldn't even recoup when the two got a 10-minute break after the second set because the heat and humidity had gone high enough to trigger a tour rule that makes that break automatic. Henin-Hardenne went in, took a shower, changed clothes and came back firing. Dementieva just came back.

Raymond's win over Pierce, who has won two Grand Slam titles and is making a nice comeback from injuries at age 28, was a surprise mostly because Raymond has had her best success as a doubles player. But she said she keeps working at singles and said she is finding ways to improve.

"I've always known I had the game," she said. "I just had to get the heart and the head to go along with it."

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