Davenport tops Seles at Bank of the West

STANFORD, CALIFORNIA (TICKER) — Lindsay Davenport continued her domination of fellow American Monica Seles on Saturday and advanced to her fifth final of the year at the $565,000 Bank of the West Classic.
The second-seeded Davenport dispatched Seles, 6-4, 6-2, for her eighth straight victory over the fourth seed. She has not lost to her older countrywoman since a three-set defeat at Manhattan Beach in 1997 and leads the all-time series, 8-2.

Davenport will seek her fourth title of the season against third seed Kim Clijsters of Belgium, who posted a 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 victory over No. 5 Meghann Shaughnessy of the United States.

Clijsters advanced to her fourth final of the year but is 0-4 lifetime vs. Davenport. She reached her first career Grand Slam final at the French Open and was runner-up at Indian Wells and the Heineken Trophy.

By defeating Shaughnessy, Clijsters will jump to a career-high No. 5 in the WTA Tour rankings. If Davenport wins Sunday’s final, she will rise to No. 3, dropping Venus Williams to the fourth spot.

Seles hit four consecutive backhand errors in the ninth game to lose the first set. After exchanging breaks to start the second, Davenport gained two more breaks and served her seventh ace of the match to take a 5-1 advantage. She closed out the match when Seles committed three backhand errors.

“I probably had a little bit of an edge since she’s just coming back from a five-month layoff,” Davenport said. “I got the first hit before she was able to do anything. There weren’t a lot of long points and not too many ground strokes.”

Davenport has reached the final here for the fourth year in a row. She won in 1998 and 1999 but fell to Williams last season.

A semifinalist at the Australian Open in January, the 25-year-old American claimed titles this year at the Pan Pacific Open, State Farm Classic and Britannic Asset Management.

Seles, a two-time champion here, was sidelined in the spring due to a foot injury. She returned in May at Madrid after a two-month layoff but lost her first match and withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon.

“It’s been a good week, obviously. I’m still improving and just staying healthy,” Seles said. “I just want to get as many matches in (before the U.S. Open).”

After splitting the first two sets, Clijsters jumped to a 4-0 lead before Shaughnessy held serve for her only game of the third set.

“I knew if I could pick up the level like I played in the first set, then I had a chance in the third,” Clijsters said. “I played a little more aggressive, and it worked.”

Shaughnessy was trying to reach her third final of the season. The 22-year-old was runner-up at Scottsdale and Hamburg and also advanced to the fourth round at the French Open and Wimbledon. With her quarterfinal victory over Williams on Friday, she will rise to at least 13th in the rankings.

“I had a pretty emotional day (Friday), I didn’t have enough energy,” Shaughnessy said. “I put so much emotion and intensity (against Williams), it’s something I have to learn about getting up for the next match after winning a big one like that.

“I felt drained from all the emotion. It’s just going back to work and taking the opportunities in learning how to handle it all.”

First prize is $90,000.