Davenport, Seles, Capriati move into quarters at State Farm Tennis Classic

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Lindsay Davenport didn’t lose her touch while waiting to play in the State Farm Women’s Tennis Classic.

Davenport’s second-round match against Gala Leon Garcia was held up twice by rain. But the world’s second-ranked player remained in control and won 7-5, 6-2 Thursday night to move into the quarterfinals.

It was the first competition for Davenport since Feb. 4, when she beat No. 1 Martina Hingis in Tokyo and collected her 31st WTA title.

A storm that set in Tuesday night forced 11 match postponements before it cleared up. The year before, rain washed out the final between Davenport and Hingis.

It was a good match to start back with and test yourself,'' Davenport said.I was making errors and got down 4-1 and was able to turn it around. I got to chase a lot of balls and hopefully got some rhythm and found my path there a little bit.”

Monica Seles also stayed on course for back-to-back championships. She won Sunday in Oklahoma City and picked up her fifth consecutive singles victory by beating Cara Black 6-0, 6-3 earlier Thursday.

“It was good to get today’s match and not get it too close, and get comfortable, and now I’m just looking forward to my quarterfinal,” said Seles, the tournament’s No. 2 seed.

Third-seeded Jennifer Capriati, who extended Seles to three sets in the Oklahoma City final, also made short work of an opponent, beating Jana Nejedly 6-2, 6-4.

In other matches, fifth-seeded Kim Clijsters beat wild card Jennifer Hopkins 5-7, 6-2, 6-3, and eighth-seeded Meghann Shaughnessy posted a 7-6 (7), 6-3 win over Nadejda Petrova.

Tina Pisnik won tiebreakers in the first and third sets to oust ninth-seeded Elena Likhovtseva 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (3), and Magui Serna defeated Kristina Brandi, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Davenport is 5-0 against Leon Garcia, last facing her in last year’s U.S. Open, when the Spanish player won just one game.

But Leon Garcia showed grit in the first set, taking a 4-1 lead.

Davenport broke through in the seventh game and again in the 11th, when a volley by Davenport appeared to land long, but was counted. Leon Garcia protested, and the ruling appeared to rattle her.

It took her until the fifth game of the second set to hold service, and by then Davenport led 4-0.

“Once I got the first set under my belt, I felt a lot more under control,” Davenport said.

Seles, currently fourth in the world, was unseeded for the first time in 11 years when she played in Scottsdale last year. She reached the quarters before running into Davenport, who won the last five games of the second set to eliminate Seles after falling behind 4-1.

This time, Seles had no trouble holding the lead against Black, a three-year pro who ranks 39th and had an 8-5 record.

Seles broke her three times in the first set, winning the last game when Black double-faulted twice. Seles overcame a 30-0 deficit to break Black in the eighth game of the second set, and finished the match in the next game with a precise crosscourt winner.

I thought it would be a little closer, no question,'' Seles said.I played Cara once before, and it was difficult type of match. But I think she couldn’t find her rhythm at the beginning.”

Nejedly got into the 28-woman singles draw when Mary Pierce withdrew, and posed little problem for Capriati, who won 10 matches in a row before falling to Seles and is ranked a career-high fifth.

The first seven victories in the run came at the Australian Open, where she won her first Grand Slam event.

Obviously, my confidence is very high right now,'' Capriati said.I mean, why wouldn’t it be? I’m just feeling great about my game and I feel like the momentum is continuing. You know, I go into each match — whether I win or lose — and I feel like it would be very hard to stop the roll I’ve been on.”