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Sport - Tennis Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Davenport keeps title

AMELIA ISLAND, APRIL 11. May be Lindsay Davenport's clay-court success at the Bausch & Lomb Championships will finally carry over to the French Open.

Davenport's powerful serve helped her offset 36 unforced errors and beat Silvia Farina Elia of Italy 7-5, 7-5 on Sunday to win the title for the second consecutive year.

``This is a huge win for me,'' Davenport said. ``Whenever I can win on clay and in a really tough tournament, it gives me a lot of excitement.''

It also could give her more confidence heading into the French Open next month. Davenport hasn't reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros since 1999. The French Open also is the only Grand Slam that eludes the 28-year-old Californian, who won the U.S. Open in 1998, Wimbledon in 1999 and the Australian Open in 2000.

The cushy, green clay at the Amelia Island Plantation has been much more kind.

Three-time winners

Davenport won here in 1997 and then again last year. She joined Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini as the event's only three-time winners.

``For me, I'm playing my best when I'm playing hard-court tennis on clay,'' said Davenport, who followed both previous clay-court victories in this event by losing in the round of 16 at the French. ``I don't want to just get balls in and build points. The shorter the point, the better.''

Davenport trailed 5-4 in the second set, but broke Farina Elia twice to capture her 47th career singles title. She took advantage of four unforced errors by the 32-year-old Italian to even the set at 5, then held serve to move ahead 6-5.

Davenport missed her first chance to clinch the match when Farina Elia reached a crosscourt drop shot and returned it to an open court. But Davenport bounced back two points later with a forehand winner that landed just inside the end line.

Davenport won a crystal bowl and $93,000 to go along with her title at the tour's first clay-court event of the year. She also became the first player this season to accumulate more than $1 million in prize money. — AP

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