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Davenport Has Another Shot

After missing a chance in Melbourne, she faces No. 1 Henin-Hardenne in final at Indian Wells.

March 21, 2004|Lisa Dillman | Times Staff Writer

"Opportunity lost" would best describe the way it went for Lindsay Davenport in her last match against No. 1-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne.

Davenport led, 4-0, in the first set, had points for 5-0 and blew three set points in the 10th game in their Australian Open quarterfinal in January. Henin-Hardenne rallied, winning the match in straight sets. And the rest was history as the Belgian went on to take the title in Melbourne.

They will play for the first time since then in today's Pacific Life Open women's final at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Davenport leads their series, 5-2, but has not beaten Henin-Hardenne since late 2002 -- or beaten any No. 1 player since late 2001.

"I really feel like I'm getting closer to getting back and getting back with the confidence that I can do that and to play well for those matches," she said. "But she [Henin-Hardenne] has definitely played at a level higher, so much higher than I have for the last year. It's just going to take a lot of patience, a lot of belief, a lot of good tennis and no letting up in concentration at all."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday March 23, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
Tennis -- Justine Henin-Hardenne lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semifinals of a tournament in Doha, Qatar. It was incorrectly reported in a Sports article Sunday that Henin-Hardenne had lost to Kuznetsova in a tournament in Dubai.

Henin-Hardenne is 21-1 in 2004, her only loss coming to Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia in Dubai, her last tournament. Davenport also has lost only once this year in a completed match, to Henin-Hardenne in Melbourne.

Neither has dropped a set at Indian Wells, and the third-seeded Davenport's confidence seems to have returned.

"I'll have to play better because I think she's physically and mentally feeling much better now than she was in Australia," Henin-Hardenne said.

Nothing seems to bother the Belgian these days. Not even a small earthquake during her news conference Friday night. It was thought to be an aftershock from a quake earlier in the day in the Big Bear area. But it turned out to be a 3.2-magnitude temblor, centered 21 miles south of Palm Springs, according to reports.

Henin-Hardenne? She didn't even notice.

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