Sat, 05 Mar 2005

From: Reuters

Davenport struggles past Schnyder into Dubai final

Agencies, Dubai

Top seed Lindsay Davenport overcame a stomach upset and a strong challenge from Switzerland's Patty Schnyder to reach the final of the Dubai Open on Friday.

The American came through 4-6 7-5 6-1 and will face either second seed Serena Williams of the United States or unseeded Serbian Jelena Jankovic in Saturday's final. Jankovic stopped the run of India's Sania Mirza 6-2, 6-2 on Thursday.

Schnyder, who beat Davenport in their last meeting and saved a match point against Anastasia Myskina in the quarterfinals, took advantage of a lethargic performance from the world number one in the first set.

Davenport had no rhythm and made a succession of errors, eventually double-faulting to give the Swiss left-hander a 3-1 lead.

Davenport was the first to break in the second, for 2-1, but played a poor game at 3-2, double-faulting three times and allowing Schnyder to level at 3-3.

Schnyder fought off two break points in the next game before Davenport called for the trainer and received medicine for her stomach.

Shortly after that, the American began to strike the ball more positively, breaking to lead 6-5 and then again to begin the deciding set.

Hitting deep to force errors from Schnyder, Davenport took almost complete control, breaking again to lead 4-1 and dropping just one point in the final two games.

In men's Davis Cup play in Sydney, a resurgent Wayne Arthurs overcame Austrian number one Jurgen Melzer 7-6 6-2 6-4 on Friday to give Australia a commanding 2-0 lead in their World Group first round tie on Friday.

Oozing confidence since capturing his first career title in Arizona last weekend, the 33-year-old Arthurs battled through a tight first set and then raced away from an error-prone Melzer to win an increasingly one-sided match in two hours.

In the opening singles rubber, world number two Lleyton Hewitt, playing in his first match since losing the Australian Open final to Marat Safin in January, outclassed Alexander Peya 6-2 6-3 6-4 to put the hosts ahead.

Arthurs used his powerful serve to great effect against Melzer, which in turn put pressure on the Austrian and produced a string of mistakes in the second and third sets.

Hewitt had little trouble against Peya, who was playing in just his third Davis Cup singles match.

"It's good, it's always tough to play the first rubber of the Davis Cup in any match no matter who you're playing," Hewitt said. " I just went out there and tried to get off to a good start, stamp my authority on the match."

In Lahore, Pakistan, Asiam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Thai star Paradon Srichapan won their respective opening singles matches Friday in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group I first round playoff.

Qureshi had to overcome cramps in the fourth set to beat Danai Udomchoke 6-2, 7-5, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), before Paradon brought Thailand on level terms with a straight set victory over Aqeel Khan 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1.

In New Delhi, India took a 1-0 lead on a rain-curtailed opening day of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania group I first round tie against China here on Friday.

Harsh Mankad put the home side ahead with an easy 7-5, 6-3, 6- 2 win over Sun Peng, while Prakash Amritraj led 6-3, 2-3 against Wang Yu in the second match when play was abandoned.

The winner meet the winner of the Indonesia-Uzbekistan tie ongoing in Jakarta in the second round.