Davenport advances to Hingis final

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The Independent Online

Martina Hingis is proving she can go to the net. The real test will come against Lindsay Davenport.

Martina Hingis is proving she can go to the net. The real test will come against Lindsay Davenport.

Hingis and Davenport each breezed to victories on Saturday and advanced to the finals of the Advanta Championships in Villanova, Pennsylvania, for the second straight year.

Hingis, the top seed, defeated Nathalie Tauziat 6-1, 6-2 in 61 minutes while Davenport, seeded second, beat Conchita Martinez 6-0, 6-1 in a 50-minute match.

"It's becoming more natural," Hingis said about her aggressive approach. "I have more and more confidence doing it because I'm winning the points. I've been playing this game against lower-ranked players. Against Lindsay, I'll have to see what happens. Coming in on her serve is a little more difficult."

Davenport, who beat Hingis in last year's final, will make her fourth straight appearance in the championship on Sunday. Hingis beat Davenport in the 1997 final.

It'll be the fifth meeting of the year between the top two players in the world. Hingis, ranked No. 1, beat Davenport the last two matches after losing the first two.

"When I first started on the tour, she was already a Top 10 player," Hingis said. "I gave her maybe a little trouble. She had a great run, then it was my turn. We make each other's games better."

In doubles Saturday, Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs beat Julie Halard-Decugis and Ai Sugiyama 7-5, 6-1. Raymond and Stubbs will meet Hingis and Anna Kournikova in Sunday's final.

Hingis broke serve in the first game of the first set, and repeatedly frustrated Tauziat throughout the match.

Tauziat grabbed the ball and threw it toward the net after Hingis beat her with a scoop shot in the second set. She stared at an official after one shot, and cursed aloud in French after another.

Davenport, ranked No. 2, breezed through the first set, and won the first two games of the second.

It was her second match of the year, and 11th overall against Martinez. Davenport, who lost six straight matches to Martinez earlier in her career, has won three straight.

"I have a lot of difficulty against players who change the speed of the ball," Davenport said. "Over the last couple years, I've gotten to be a much better player at learning to deal with the short, low slices and high balls with a lot of spin."

Davenport broke serve in the first game, and overmatched Martinez with a powerful serve. She had two aces, won 11 straight points in the first set, and 12 of 14 in the second set.

Martinez, the third seed, was seeking her first tournament title since winning the German Open. She lost her first match here last year to Julie Halard-Decugis.

"I tried to play more aggressive, but anything I did, she hit with a winner," Martinez said.

Hingis rallied from double game-point to take a 3-1 lead in the second set. She came back from a triple game-point to win the seventh game.

Tauziat, the fourth seed, twice took Hingis to 14 points.

"I think she wanted to show me she can play the net," Tauziat said.

The 20-year-old Hingis beat Kournikova for her 35th singles title last month in Moscow.

Davenport, 24, is coming off her 29th singles title - she won the Generali Ladies Open three weeks ago in Linz, Austria. Davenport, who had a difficult summer battling injuries, snapped Venus Williams' 35-match winning streak with her victory at Linz.