Kournikova drops Davenport
March 25, 1998 - At 16, Anna Kournikova displayed her sweet promise in Key Biscayne, Fla. After eliminating No. 5 seed Monica Seles and No. 9 Conchita Martinez earlier in the Lipton Tournament, she extended her winning streak against Top-10 players today by beating second-ranked Lindsay Davenport, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
Playing before a crowd of about 8,000 on stadium court, Kournikova wore down the bigger, less agile Davenport. She forced Davenport behind the base line with powerful ground strokes, then charged the net. And Kournikova hit eight drop shots for winners, each time catching her foe flat-footed.
When Davenport dumped a backhand into the net on match point, Kournikova let out a squeal and pumped her fists. Ranked 25th, she probably would be higher if not for WTA Tour age restrictions on the number of tournaments she could play.
"I played great tennis at Wimbledon, but right now I'm much smarter," Kournikova said. "It's all just mental, because physically -- the way of making shots -- I could do anything probably."
The next day, Kournikova defeated No. 8-ranked Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 to reach her first final on the tour. However, her upset string ended in the championship match when she lost to Venus Williams.
Odds 'n' Ends