A year later, Venus Williams is no closer to dethroning Lindsay Davenport. Davenport controlled the match with her power and even showed off a little speed at the end, defeating Williams, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2, today to beat her in the final of the Bank of the West Classic for the second straight year.
Davenport, who has won eight of nine matches against Williams, had defeated her, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, in this tournament's final last year. Davenport used that win as a springboard toward the U.S. Open title and the No. 1 ranking. Williams said after the semifinals that Davenport had won most of their previous matches by being a smarter player. Today, the top-seeded Davenport also was tougher on the big points.
"I was able to play important when it counted," said Davenport, who earned $80,000 for the win. "It's just one of those things where you have to concentrate harder and play better percentage tennis. It's just one of those things that come with experience."
Williams, seeded second, was leading 5-4 in the first set and had two set points on Davenport's serve. But Davenport saved both and eventually forced the tiebreaker, in which Williams failed to win any of her four service points. On the final point of the match, Davenport raced to reach a drop shot and slammed a backhand winner past Williams.
Davenport, who has become much quicker after losing 30 pounds two years ago, punched the air with both fists to celebrate.
"Everybody has their strategies on beating certain players. For me, for the past 10-12 months, my movement has not been a huge issue in my losses," she said. "I always have to work on moving better. I'm not naturally as fast as Venus."