Mon, 07 Mar 2005


Davenport to good for Jankovic in in Dubai

Associated Press, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Top seed Lindsay Davenport fought off a break point late in the third set and went on to beat 19-year-old Jelena Jankovic 6- 4, 3-6, 6-4 Saturday to claim the US$1 million Dubai Women's Open for her 46th WTA Tour title.

Davenport survived the rally by the 28th-ranked Serbian at 4-4 in the third set, winning the final three games to prevail in two hours, 11 minutes for her first title of the season.

"It was a really tough match," said Davenport, who won her 15th title as a top seed. "Once the match started and I saw how well she was playing, I knew it was anybody's game out there. It was very close. I was down a break point at 4-4 in the third set but survived."

Davenport lauded her opponent, who has risen from No. 362 in the WTA Tour rankings at the end of 2001.

"It was a really long match and she made some excellent retrieves, getting a lot of balls back," Davenport said. "She is incredibly fast and changes the direction of her shots a lot."

Jankovic, who was leading Serena Williams 6-0, 4-3 in Friday's semifinals when the American retired with a shoulder injury, was hampered by 11 double faults.

"I want to congratulate Lindsay for playing an unbelievable game," said Jankovic. "I couldn't do anything. She kind of destroyed me in the end."

In Davis Cup in Carson, California, Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic handed Bob and Mike Bryan their first Davis Cup doubles defeat to give Croatia a commanding 2-1 lead over the United States on Saturday in their World Group first-round tie.

Ljubicic and Ancic, who captured the men's doubles bronze at the Athens Olympics, downed the Bryan brothers 3-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4, 6-4 to put the United States, runner-up to Spain last year in the international team competition -- on the brink of elimination in the best-of-five match tie.

Croatian captain Nikki Pilic scoffed at U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe's suggestion that the pressure would be on the visitors when it came time to close out the tie on Sunday.

"You think there's not pressure on Americans? We have to win one match -- they have to win two," Pilic said.

In Taipei, Wang Yeu-tzuoo narrowly beat Gouichi Motomura on Sunday to give Taiwan victory over Japan in the Davis Cup Asia- Oceania Group I playoff.

Wang cruised past Motomura 7-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-5, 7-6 in a close match that lasted four hours and 15 minutes. It was the Taiwanese player's first victory after losing in the opening singles and Saturday's doubles match.

In Lahore, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi served 21 aces to stun leading player Paradorn Srichapan, as Pakistan clinched a thrilling 3-2 win over Thailand in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group One first round tie here on grass on Sunday.

Qureshi's powerful serves knocked out Paradorn 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the first reverse singles before Danai Udomchoke got the consolation victory over Pakistan's reserve player Shahzad Khan 6-3, 7-6 (1) in the last singles.

"This is the most memorable match of my career," Qureshi told reporters after his heroic three-hour win.

"We practiced on this surface for nearly two weeks and got used to the court. The Thai players arrived only two days before the tie which went to our advantage."

"I tried hard but I think it's more than bad luck for me," Paradorn told reporters. "Funny bounces on the grass courts made it difficult for me."

In Manila, South Korea defeated the Philippines Sunday on the final day of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group II tennis match with a stunning victory by veteran Jun Woong-sun over top-ranked Filipino player Patrick Tierro 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

In Israel, Greg Rusedski defeated Noam Okun 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday to lead Britain over Israel in a Davis Cup zonal tie.

Britain leads 3-1 with only one match remaining. Harel Levy will face David Sherwood of Britain later Sunday in the meaningless final match.

Britain was playing without Tim Henman, who has retired from Davis Cup.

"The best way to describe it is a missed opportunity," Israel captain Oded Yaacov said. "We were drawn against Great Britain at home, not at full strength. But it seems as though the mental pressure surrounding this tie affected our players and this is the result."