Davenport inflicts rare defeat on Graf

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The Independent Online
Lindsay Davenport gave the joint world No 1, Steffi Graf, her first defeat in the US since 1994 as she reached the final of the Acura Classic at Manhattan beach, California, yesterday.

The American world No 10, who has been playing the best tennis of her career this summer, won 6-3, 6-3 and will now face either another German, Anke Huber, or Karina Habsudova, of Slovakia.

"I don't know if it's sunk in yet. It means so much to me that I was able to really pull it out," Davenport said of her first victory over Graf in five career meetings. "She is the greatest player probably that's ever lived and I'll always have this no matter what happens."

Graf's forehand consistently missed the mark, either heading straight into the net or landing well beyond the baseline. She appeared angry at herself, an emotion she rarely displays on court.

"I couldn't really get myself up to fight for every point because I just kept missing them early," she said. "I tried but it felt like I had no timing."

Graf's reverse was only her 44th in 10 years. Her last previous straight- sets defeat was 6-4, 6-4 to Mary Pierce in the Virginia Slims Championships in November 1994.

Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic turned on the class to clinch semi- final victories at the pounds 700,000 RCA Championships in Indianapolis yesterday.

Sampras, the world No 1, reached his first final since winning the Japan Open in April with a routine 6-1, 6-4 victory over the 13th-seeded Bohdan Ulihrach of the Czech Republic. Ivanisevic, the No 2 seed, beat Todd Martin, the fifth seed, 6-2 6-4.