While Martina Hingis and Venus Williams already have begun hurling challenges at each other in anticipation of their Saturday semifinal at the Chase Championships, Lindsay Davenport has assumed her usual tournament pose: gliding through the draw with little fanfare and even less fumbling.
Davenport needed just 56 minutes to dispose of unseeded Anke Huber, 6-3, 6-1, in tonight's quarterfinal, moving her into a semifinal matchup against sixth-seeded Nathalie Tauziat, who defeated Dominique Van Roost, 6-3, 6-2. Davenport, the No. 2 seed, had been on course to meet Serena Williams in the semifinals, but Serena withdrew from the tournament because of a back injury earlier this week, leaving Davenport--once again--in the draw's more quiet bracket.
"I think I was involved [in all the verbal sparring] once, and I was like, 'Uh, uh,' " said Davenport, who wasn't too disappointed about missing a match with Williams. "Serena always kicks my butt. No, I'm just joking, but technically it does make the draw easier. I haven't beaten her in a number of years, and she's a very dangerous player."
Davenport has had no such trouble with Huber, who had problems tonight returning Davenport's serves as well as converting her own. Huber double-faulted four times in the final game of the first set, although at least in that set she managed to break Davenport's serve. In the second set, Huber's one chance to break turned into a disaster. After backing Davenport into a 0-40 service game, Huber lost the next five points.
"She made five first serves where I didn't even touch three, I don't think," Huber said. "I had no chance in that game. I really played well until 0-40, and then I didn't have a chance any more. I was really getting frustrated, because no girl is placing her serves as well as Lindsay is."
After failing to get the break, Huber lost her serve, lost the next game and went into the beginning of the next game before finally getting a point, allowing Davenport 15 straight points. That was all it took to seal the victory for Davenport, who looked more mobile than she had in her first-round match against Amelie Mauresmo on Wednesday.
Davenport had been struggling because of a pulled hamstring in her left leg, but she said tonight she felt much better. She barely used the brace provided by the WTA trainer, saying, "It just kind of didn't feel right.
"Normally with muscle pulls, I tend to heal quickly," Davenport said. "It didn't bother me, so I don't foresee any problems for the weekend."
While the top-seeded Hingis had the night off from singles competition, she and partner Anna Kournikova stayed alive in the doubles by coming back to defeat Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0, and advance to Monday's final. The match seemed to turn in the second-set tiebreaker on a controversial call that Stubbs argued vehemently. When the chair umpire ruled in Hingis's and Kournikova's favor, Stubbs and Raymond could not seem to recover, losing the tiebreaker and floundering through the final set.
Notes: Venus and Serena Williams recently taped an episode of "Hollywood Squares," but Venus wasn't pleased with the outcome. "I'm thinking we probably did a bad job--we're not comedians," said Venus, who shared a square with her sister. "They ask you all kinds of questions that you will not know the answer to. . . . For instance, I was born in 1980. They asked me which ['80s movie] did Molly Ringwald star in with a lot of teenagers. And a lot of things like that. Who was the fourth president of the United States? I don't know.
"It makes you look bad. They should ask questions that are reasonable. But other than that it was okay; I just felt highly uneducated."