Lindsay Davenport held off Venus Williams, 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), yesterday to win her third Bank of the West Classic title in Stanford, Calif.

Davenport snapped a six-match losing streak to Williams in the longtime rivals' 23rd meeting. After countless thrilling points in a tense, well-played match, Davenport thrust her arms into the air in relief when Williams's final backhand went wide.

Davenport, the second seed, has won three of her finals meetings with Williams at the Stanford tournament, including previous victories in 1998 and 1999. It was Davenport's 41st WTA singles title and her third this year, after Tokyo's Pan Pacific and Amelia Island.

Williams, the top seed, fell just a few key points short of her third title of the season, making crucial unforced errors on a handful of shots.

Williams still has a 12-11 lead in her career over Davenport -- but if Davenport retires after the season, the match was an appropriate finale.

How close was it? Williams won 142 total points to Davenport's 141 in a match that lasted 2 hours 55 minutes.

"I know today wasn't my best match, and I lost 7-6 in the third," Williams said. "If I would have played a decent match, I would have won."

Davenport claimed the $97,000 winner's share of the $585,000 purse -- but more importantly, she played her best tennis against one of the game's premier players, bolstering her confidence for what might be her final months on tour.

"If this does anything, it motivates me and excites me to keep going," Davenport said. "I'm not basing what I'm going to decide to do at the end of the year on my results, but it gives me a lot of motivation for the next few weeks." . . .

Tommy Haas defeated Nicolas Kiefer, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 to win the Mercedes-Benz Cup in Los Angeles in the first all-German ATP Tour final in 10 years. The last all-German final was between Markus Zoecke and Hendrik Dreekman in 1994 in Sun City, South Africa.

Haas joined Jimmy Connors as the only unseeded winners of the tournament since the Open era began in 1968. Connors won the 1973 title over Tom Okker in the only other final between unseeded players. . . .

Guillermo Canas of Argentina won the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, Germany, beating countryman and French Open champion Gaston Gaudio in five sets for his fourth career title.

Canas, who was not seeded, won the clay-court final, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0, 1-6, 6-3. . . .

Martin Verkerk became the first Dutchman in 31 years to win his country's tennis championship, beating Chile's Fernando Gonzalez, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-4, in the Dutch Open final in Amersfoort.

It was the second ATP title for Verkerk, who also won the 2003 Milan Indoors and reached his first Grand Slam final at last year's French Open.

The last Dutch player to win this event was Tom Okker in 1973.

* COLLEGES: The University of Colorado said it will ask the NCAA to grant a waiver to Jeremy Bloom to allow the world champion freestyle skier to collect money from endorsements while playing college football.

If the NCAA rejects the request, Bloom will have to give up football, athletic department spokesman Dave Plati said.

Bloom's most recent setback was in May, when the Colorado Court of Appeals denied his request for an injunction that would have allowed him to collect endorsements and play college football during his lawsuit against the NCAA.

The appeals court agreed with a lower court that Bloom failed to show he would probably win the lawsuit. The court said it is up to the NCAA to decide whether Bloom could collect endorsements and play football.

Bloom could have asked the appeals court to reconsider its decision or sought a review by the Colorado Supreme Court. He decided against that, said his attorney, Jim Smittkamp.

"Frankly, Jeremy said, 'I don't want to go this route any more,' " Smittkamp told the Denver Post. "We have dismissed the lawsuit and stopped."

Bloom, who played two seasons as a wideout for Colorado, started accepting endorsement money last winter and hopes to compete in the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.

Colorado Coach Gary Barnett recently expressed doubt that Bloom would return for his junior season. Colorado compliance office official Lindsey Babcock said Bloom will not be allowed to practice until a final ruling is issued by the NCAA. . . .

Virginia football player Ahmad Bradshaw faces a misdemeanor charge of underage possession of alcohol after being arrested with an open container on a Charlottesville street early Saturday morning. Police officers stopped Bradshaw, an 18-year-old rising freshman, outside a handful of popular bars on Elliewood Avenue after they noticed he was holding a plastic cup, Charlottesville Sgt. David Jones said. Bradshaw told the officers he was drinking a Long Island iced tea, Jones said, and gave a fake name and date of birth. When that didn't work, he ran from the officers, leading them on a short chase before being caught and arrested.

* BASKETBALL: The Washington Wizards defeated the Boston Celtics, 84-64, in a Reebok Vegas Summer League game. The Wizards finished play in the league with a 4-1 mark.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports