Venus Williams can't be rushed these days.
Monica Seles tried it Friday and lost.
Lindsay Davenport, with her relentless return of serve, gave it a go yesterday. Same result.
The teenager with the best serve in women's tennis dispatched both top 10 players in straight sets, beating Davenport, 6-2, 7-5, to win the Pilot Pen championship in New Haven, Conn. Williams, 19, has beaten Davenport in their last two meetings.
Davenport, the world's No. 2 player, holds an 8-3 edge in their career meetings.
"When you are getting overpowered you kind of rush and you make an error," Williams said. "I don't feel overpowered by her anymore."
The difference she said is confidence, better technique and a lot of hard work. She also isn't succumbing to pressure.
"If I didn't feel I had a chance to win I can go home and get a lot of other things done," Williams said. "I don't feel the pressure. It is just a game. I enjoy playing it."
She's also enjoying a banner year. Her No. 3 world ranking is the highest in her five-year career.
The Pilot Pen title is Williams's fifth of the year, and moves her one behind No. 1 Martina Hingis, who has six.
Williams and Davenport battled from the baseline for most of the 1-hour 24-minute match as their hard-hitting styles kept them well off the net. Williams had the speed to track down Davenport's rifle returns and the skill to turn them into points.
Williams served her seven aces at the crucial points. Davenport, conversely, struggled with her service game and double-faulted three times in the final game.
Down 4-5 in the second set, Williams, the second seed, fought off two set points and evened the set when Davenport double-faulted. Davenport only won three points the rest of the way.
"Venus is going to be tough to beat. She's athletic and extremely fast. Those are some great assets to have," said Davenport, who has four singles titles this year, including Wimbledon.
The tournament was the final tuneup before the U.S. Open, where Davenport will defend her 1998 title.
"I know I can play better than I did today," Davenport said. "You just have to start over right now and get ready for next week."
* HAMLET CUP: Second-seeded Alex Corretja rebounded from a slow start and beat unseeded Daniel Vacek, 6-4, 6-1, to advance to the final in Commack, N.Y. Corretja, a wild-card entry, will face Magnus Norman, who beat Jason Stoltenberg, 7-6 (7-3), 5-7, 6-3.
* U.S. PRO CHAMPIONSHIPS: Top-seeded Greg Rusedski outlasted a surprising challenge by unseeded Arnaud Clement for a 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 victory in Brookline, Mass. Rusedski will play Marat Safin of Russia, who defeated Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1, in today's final.
A USTA EVENT
Where: USTA National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
When: Monday through Sept. 12; day sessions start at 11 a.m., night sessions at 7:30 p.m.
TV: USA (daily coverage through Sept. 9) and CBS; check local listings.
Defending champions: Patrick Rafter (men); Lindsay Davenport (women).
Top seeds: Men: No. 1 Pete Sampras, No. 2 Andre Agassi, No. 3 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, No. 4 Rafter, No. 5 Gustavo Kuerten; Women: No. 1 Martina Hingis, No. 2 Davenport, No. 3 Venus Williams, No. 4 Monica Seles, No. 5 Mary Pierce.
Notable: Rafter is seeking his third straight Open title. ... Four-time champ Sampras, coming off his sixth Wimbledon title in July, is seeking his 13th career Grand Slam singles title, which would break the record held by Roy Emerson. The right-hander was riding a 24-match winning streak midway through last week's ATP event in Indianapolis before he was forced to retire with a strained hip flexor. He has a tough first-round opponent in Russian Marat Safin. ... Davenport's win here last year was her first major title. She beat Hingis, 6-3, 7-5, in the final. ... Hingis, who relinquished the No. 1 ranking to Davenport for five months before reclaiming it in February, won the Open in '97.