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Davenport looked sluggish; Venus shined

1/20/2005

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.

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.