Davenport looked sluggish; Venus shined

Updated: January 20, 2005, 9:37 AM ET
Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Top-seeded Lindsay Davenport and French Open champion Anastasia Myskina both struggled Thursday before advancing to the third round of the Australian Open.

Schett retires Thursday
Austrian pro Barbara Schett announced her retirement from the WTA Tour on Thursday during the Australian Open, bringing to an end a remarkable 12-year career.

Schett, 28, once ranked as high as No. 7 in the world, leaves the game as one of the most accomplished players in Austrian tennis history. She won three singles and 10 doubles titles and earned more than $3 million in prize money since turning pro in 1992. She posted victories over Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters and also reached as high as No. 8 in the world in doubles. Her career singles record is 349-279.

Eighth seed Venus Williams had no trouble wearing down Chinese amateur Peng Shuai and closed out a 6-3, 6-1 win Thursday with a stinging crosscourt forehand

Williams lost her opening service game, but broke right back to start a five-game winning streak. That sent her on the way to eliminating Peng, who upset Myskina at the Sydney International last week.

Williams cut her errors in half and doubled the number of clean winners in the second set, while Peng started misfiring with the powerful groundstrokes that were winning shots early.

"Wasn't she a beautiful player?'' said Williams, who joined younger sister, Serena, in the third round. "I had no idea who she was.''

Davenport earned a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory against Michaela Pastikova, the world's 99th-ranked player who was entered in her first Grand Slam tournament after 13 failed qualifying attempts.

Myskina, the No. 3 seed, berated herself and looked dismayed after many of the 25 errors she had to overcome on the way to defeating No. 114 Tzipora Obziler of Israel 6-4, 6-2 in the second round.

Davenport made 10 errors as she muddled through the first set. She picked up her play and had only one unforced error in the second set before firing five aces in the third.

The American won the first nine points in the final set and led 5-1 before Pastikova held her serve and made Davenport serve out the match. Somebody in the crowd yelled "Just finish it Lindsay!" and Davenport sealed it two points later on consecutive errors from Pastikova.

"I just wasn't ready to be at my very best at the beginning," Davenport said. "She was very aggressive and caught me on the back foot.

"I tried to buckle down ... I knew I wasn't playing my best, so I thought I'd do what I needed to do. In the second and third sets, I got off to good starts, and that carried me through."

Myskina had problems with her serve and trailed 3-1 in the first set, muttering to herself and gesturing at lines after losing points.

"My emotion doesn't really help me on court," she said.

She regained control and won four consecutive games to close out the first set, and then didn't face a break point in the second.

Myskina will face 25th-seeded Lisa Raymond, a 6-0, 6-1 winner against Clara Koukalova, in the third round. Last year, Raymond upset Venus Williams, then seeded third, in the third round en route to the Australian Open quarterfinals.

Abigail Spears, playing only her second major, knocked out No. 20 Tatiana Golovin of France 7-5, 6-1 to make the third round.

"She got in my face from the start," said Golovin, whose preparation was restricted by a virus. "I don't want to make excuses, I was feeling OK physically, but it played a part."

In other matches, 14th-seeded Francesca Schiavone beat Tatiana Perebiynis 2-6, 6-3, 6-0, and 26th-seeded Daniela Hantuchova had a 6-4, 6-0 win over 28-year-old Barbara Schett, who retired from singles play after the match.

No. 13 Karolina Sprem and No. 27 Anna Smashnova also advanced, while Czech player Nicole Vaidisova beat No. 31 Jelena Kostanic of Croatia.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press