Zvonareva no match for top seed

Originally Published: August 22, 2004
Associated Press

MASON, Ohio -- Top-seeded Lindsay Davenport won her fourth consecutive WTA championship on Sunday, defeating second-seeded Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-2 in the Western and Southern Women's Open finals.

Davenport has won 18 consecutive matches, including a walkover win over Marion Bartoli in Saturday's semifinals. Bartoli dropped out with a right hand injury.

"Unfortunately, I know it has to end at some time," said Davenport. "Hopefully, it won't be until October. It's been a great summer. It's beyond expectations that this could happen at this point in my career. I'm really excited."

Davenport, ranked fourth in the WTA, is the first this year to win four straight tournaments, and her six overall is tops on the tour. She's lost only three sets in her last 17 matches.

She faced just two break points on Sunday, both in the first set.

"It's tough to play against the top players, especially when there's no opportunity to break their serve," Zvonareva said.

Davenport's last loss came in the Wimbledon semifinals against eventual champion Maria Sharapova. She's playing her best string of tennis since she won 21 straight in 2000.

Davenport quickly gained an edge against Zvonareva, holding serve at love to open the match and breaking the ninth-ranked player's serve in the second game of the first set.

"I wanted to play well from the start," Davenport said. "A couple of aces and a couple of winners is the way you want to start. I never really got into trouble in the first set."

Both players stayed on serve in the second set until Davenport broke Zvonareva in the fifth game. Zvonareva double-faulted on break point in the seventh game to give Davenport a 5-2 lead.

"When I was serving, I felt like I was in control of some of the games," Zvonareva said. "It was really tough because she was serving so well. I was feeling pressure on my serve, knowing that I had to hold."

"I know when I'm returning well that it's important to keep the pressure up," Davenport said. "Even when I wasn't breaking her, I felt like I was in the return games. I just wanted to keep applying the pressure when she was serving and hit the ball deep and hard."

Davenport won 81 percent (29-of-36) of her first-serve points, compared to 67 percent (24-of-36) for Zvonareva. The 19-year-old Russian had 19 unforced errors to Davenport's nine.

Zvonareva, who has beaten Serena Williams and Sharapova in the last month, fell to 0-5 in her career against Davenport.

In doubles play, the third-seeded team of Jill Craybas and Marlene Weingartner beat unseeded Emmanuelle Gagliardi and Ana-Lena Groenefeld, 7-5, 7-6 (2) to win the championship.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press