Davenport, Seles top seeds at State Farm Tennis Classic

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA (TICKER) — Top-seeded Lindsay Davenport of the United States hopes for better weather this year at the $565,000 State Farm Tennis Classic, which begins Monday.

After winning the Australian Open last season, Davenport was trying to claim successive titles when she reached the final. However, the championship match between the American and Martina Hingis was cancelled due to rain.

Davenport is in almost the same situation this year as she defeated Hingis to win the Pan Pacific Open earlier in the month in her last tournament. She is 11-2 this season, having also reached the final in Sydney and the semifinals at the Australian Open.

The recipient of a first-round bye, Davenport will play the winner of Monday’s match between Gala Leon Garcia of Spain and Anne Kremer of Luxembourg.

Second seeded Monica Seles also is looking to record back-to-back tournament triumphs after the American outdueled Australian Open champion Jennifer Capriati, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, Sunday in an all-American final at the IGA U.S. Indoors.

Seles will take on either a qualifier to be determined or Cara Black of Zimbabwe in Wednesday’s second round.

Capriati is here as the third seed. She did not look as sharp last week as she did at Melbourne, where she defeated Hingis to capture her first Grand Slam title. The 24-year-old Capriati was taken to three sets in the quarterfinals and semifinals before going the distance Sunday, when she suffered just her second loss in 13 matches this season. Her second-round foe will be decided on Tuesday.

Fourth seed Mary Pierce of France was forced to withdraw due to continuing problems with tendinitis in both ankles. It is the same injury that caused her to retire from her doubles match last week in Dubai.

Instead, Kim Clijsters of Belgium, the fifth seed, will receive Pierce’s first-round bye and Elena Likhovtseva of Russia will be seeded ninth.

Likhovtseva takes on Silvia Talaja of Croatia in final evening match. No. 8 Meghann Sahughnessy of the United States plays Russia’s Elena Bovina earlier on Monday night.

Sixth seed Justin Henin of Belgium, who won two titles this season and reached the fourth round at the Australian Open, meets Magui Serna of Spain.

Also, Jennifer Hopkins of the United States battles Sonya Jeyaseelan of Canada on Monday for the right to play Clijsters in the second round.

First prize is $90,000.