MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Monica Seles had momentum and a supportive crowd on her side. Across the net, Lindsay Davenport awaited with a big serve and powerful groundstrokes.
Davenport used both to great effect, overwhelming a tired Seles 6-3, 7-5 to win the estyle.com Classic on Sunday.
Lindsay was just too good for me,'' Seles said.She was hitting her groundstrokes really well and kept me back, and her serve is one of the best in the game.”
Seles struggled with her serve throughout the 67-minute match, and double-faulted on Davenport’s second match point.
I'll take the double fault,'' Davenport said.I lost to her here one year and had match point in the final, so I’ll surely take that.”
The loss ended Seles’ run of upsets against top-10 players. She had victories over No. 1 Martina Hingis (twice), No. 2 Jennifer Capriati and No. 8 Serena Williams in a span of nine days.
“Since coming back, it’s been really great to play such a high level of tennis,” said Seles, who has missed most of the year with a foot injury that kept her out of the French Open and Wimbledon.
Would she have predicted her success over Hingis, Capriati and Williams, whom Seles had never beaten before?
“I probably would’ve said no way,” she said.
Seles had a grueling route to the final, including winning three consecutive three-set matches over Sandrine Testud, Williams and Hingis. Seles returned to play Davenport just 14 hours after beating Hingis.
I really do think fatigue played a factor,'' Davenport said.I was hoping Monica would be a little worn out from three tough matches.”
Seles committed 21 unforced errors in the match and won just 64 percent of the points on her first serve to Davenport’s 89 percent.
It was a little tough in the beginning because I played all my matches at night,'' Seles said.It’s been tiring, but it’s irrelevant. She was just a better player out there.”
Davenport’s title completed a three-week swing through her home state during which she lost in the final at Stanford and lost in the semifinals at Carlsbad last week.
“My California trip has definitely been a success,” said Davenport, who lives down the freeway in Laguna Beach.
Although she doesn’t have a title to show for it, Seles’ trip through the same three California tournaments was impressive. She overcame six match points to beat Williams in the quarterfinals, then beat Hingis for the second straight week in the semifinals.
She rose two spots to No. 8 in the world in Monday’s WTA Tour rankings.
It's been a great week, a lot of tough matches,'' Seles said.It was really fantastic to fight through and get to the finals. I have one more week to go and I finally get a little rest before the Open.”
Seles will play in Toronto this week, her fourth in a row.
“My draw in Toronto is pretty crazy, but not as crazy as here,” she said.