Davenport wins ASB Classic, third title since comeback
AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Lindsay Davenport won her third title in four events since returning to play following the birth of her first child, beating France's Aravane Rezai 6-2, 6-2 in the ASB Classic on Saturday.
The former top-ranked Davenport improved to 18-1 in singles since her return to the tour. She gave birth in June to son Jagger.
Jagger Jonathan Leach was courtside Saturday for his mother's victory, attended by his nanny, but seemed nonplussed by the occasion and cried volubly when first introduced to the crowd. He was quickly calmed by Davenport and took an eager interest in proceedings, including the presentation of the $22,000 winner's check.
The win followed Davenport's tournament victories in Bali -- achieved after a 51-week absence from the tour -- and Quebec City and her semifinals appearance in Beijing. With her 54th singles title, she passed Monica Seles for eighth on the career list.
"I came here with the goal of winning this tournament and, being unseeded, you never know how the draw turns out," Davenport said. "But I was happy with the way I was able to play well at times, not perfectly at others, but really come through the tournament and just lose the one set."
Davenport is surprised her comeback has been so successful.
"I started off playing a few of the smaller tournaments, Tier 3s and 4s, and it's astonished me," she said. "I didn't think my body would bounce back as fast as it has after giving birth and the strain of pregnancy."
Davenport was playing in Auckland for the first time and will play no other tournaments before the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, starts on Jan. 14. She will be bidding to win that title for the second time.
"I'm excited now about going to the huge stage of the Australian Open and seeing what can happen," Davenport said.
In winning, Davenport improved her percentage of wins in singles to 79.4 percent -- 792 wins in 918 matches -- the best winning percentage in WTA history.
"Hopefully, I'll still be playing in 2009 and if I am I'll definitely make this the first stop of the year," Davenport said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press