Archive for Thursday, August 28, 2003

Davenport overcomes injury, foe

No. 92-seed Camerin no match for former champion, who has been hobbled by foot woes

August 28, 2003


— Lindsay Davenport is replacing thoughts of retirement with hope for a U.S. Open title.

If her injured left foot holds up, she just might pull it off.

Davenport, the only past Open champion in the women's field, didn't play perfectly Wednesday night, but she played well enough to put together a 6-2, 6-4 victory against overmatched Maria Elena Camerin, an Italian ranked 92nd.

"The main thing is, my foot didn't hurt, and I'm on to the third round. You always want to be doing things better and better at Grand Slams," Davenport said, and she knows what she's talking about, having won three such tournaments.

Roger Federer, too, now knows what it feels like to take to the court as a Grand Slam champion. Kim Clijsters, still getting used to seeing "No. 1" next to her name, would love to be the proud owner of a major title, too.

Accustomed to shaky starts at Slams, Federer lost the first set of his U.S. Open, then took control against Jose Acasuso and eventually advanced to the second round when the Argentine quit because of pain in his groin and back. The official score was 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, 2-0, ret.

Clijsters followed in Arthur Ashe Stadium and had a much easier time, beating Laura Granville of Chicago, 6-1, 6-1, to get to the third round.

"If it's in their head they're playing the No. 1, maybe that's a little bit intimidating," Clijsters said. "On the other hand, that could even be also more motivating as well. I think it depends on the character of your opponent."

On a day of few surprises, U.S. Davis Cup player James Blake accounted for one, on paper at least, by eliminating No. 27-seeded Mariano Zabaleta, 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-2. Blake, who's right-handed, used his left to hit one tough-to-reach shot -- and won the point.

"That's instinct and luck," said Blake, who could face Federer in the third round.

The man Federer beat in the Wimbledon final, No. 20-seeded Mark Philippoussis, won his first-round match, as did 2002 Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian, No. 7 Carlos Moya, and No. 10 Jiri Novak. Philippoussis, also the finalist at the 1998 U.S. Open, pounded 20 aces to beat Janko Tipsarevic, 6-2, 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Women's winners included No. 5 Amelie Mauresmo, No. 9 Daniela Hantuchova, French Open semifinalist Nadia Petrova, No. 14 Amanda Coetzer, and No. 13 Vera Zvonareva, who eliminated U.S. teenager Ashley Harkleroad, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, thanks in part to a 37-16 edge in winners.

In the second set, Harkleroad screamed at the chair umpire after what she thought was a series of missed calls.

"You can never be my chair umpire again! That's horrible!" Harkleroad yelled.

Wednesday, Davenport won in straight sets again despite putting in just 46 percent of her first serves and making more unforced errors than winners, 23-22. And then there's the nerve problem in her left foot, on which she'll have surgery after the tournament, ending her season.

The injury forced her to quit at the French Open. Davenport had an injection later that day, and now is relying on ice and tape.

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