Lindsay Davenport won the Pilot Pen championship yesterday in New Haven, Conn., defeating Amelie Mauresmo of France, 6-4, 6-4, after missing nearly two months with a back injury.
Davenport, who was using the Pilot Pen as a tuneup for the U.S. Open that begins tomorrow, showed few signs of rust, winning the tournament without losing a set. It was Davenport's first title in New Haven, where she had lost four times in the final -- three times to Venus Williams and once to Jennifer Capriati.
"That was a big test for my back," Davenport said. "It was really important just to play some matches and hopefully get the rust out of my game. Obviously, to win the tournament and going into New York with that under my belt is a great feeling."
Though her appearance in the final guaranteed she'll reclaim the world's No. 1 spot from Russia's Maria Sharapova tomorrow, Davenport will be seeded second at the U.S. Open because the draw was set this week.
"She likes to come in, dictate and make big shots," Mauresmo said. "I gave her the opportunity to play like that."
Davenport said yesterday's final was the first time this week she'd been able to play that way.
"I think that comes with playing more, the feeling, the confidence that you can come to the net and put balls away," she said. "I think today was a great first step."
The men's final between James Blake and Feliciano Lopez will be held today. The fifth-seeded Lopez beat third-seeded David Ferrer, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Blake, who grew up in nearby Fairfield, defeated Victor Hanescu, 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (7-3), 6-1.
* COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Hall of Fame coach John R. Wooden, who led UCLA to 10 national championships, says that for the first time in nearly three decades he won't present the prestigious collegiate player of the year award bearing his name, because of a dispute with the group that sponsors the prize. The 94-year-old Wooden, however, said he won't contest the use of his name for the award. Los Angeles Athletic Club President Steve Hathaway, whose group sponsors the award in concert with Wooden, said the dispute concerned Wooden's decision to lend his name to an unrelated award in January.
* BASEBALL: Vonn Fe'ao escaped a bases-loaded jam with a double play in the top of the fifth inning, then sealed the game with a homer in the bottom of the inning as West Oahu of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, advanced to the championship game of the Little League World Series with a 6-1 victory over Rancho Buena Vista of Vista, Calif., in South Williamsport, Pa.
In the bottom of the fifth, Fe'ao hit a high shot that landed beyond the hedges in left field to give West Oahu a 6-1 lead and send it to today's title game against Curacao, which beat Japan, 2-0, in the international final.
* COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Lamar Manigo threw two touchdown passes and Isaac Redman scored on runs of 1, 6 and 3 yards to lead Bowie State past West Virginia State, 40-7, in Institute, W. Va. Manigo threw scoring strikes of 10 and 19 yards to Glenn Thomas. Redman carried 24 times for 145 yards. Lamar Jones also had a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown for Bowie State, which led 28-7 at halftime. . . . Sophomore Erik Ainge will start at quarterback in Tennessee's opener against Alabama-Birmingham on Sept. 3 after beating out senior Rick Clausen in a close competition.
-- From News Services