Davenport wins ASB Classic, third title since comeback

1/4/2008 - Tennis

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

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.