Davenport beats Dokic for second straight title

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The Independent Online

American Lindsay Davenport defeated fourth–seeded Jelena Dokic in the final of the $1.185 million Swisscom Challenge in Zurich, today, to collect her second title in two weeks and her sixth of the season.

The third–seeded Davenport, fresh off her title at the Porsche Grand Prix last week, downed the 18–year–old Dokic 6–3, 6–1 for her fourth win in as many matches against the Yugoslav.

"It's great," said Davenport. "I didn't win any Grand Slams this year and the second–best are the Tier Ones. This is the best I can do without winning a Grand Slam."

The victory also improved her record at the Zurich tournament to a scintillating 15–1.

The American, who won back–to–back titles in 1997 and 1998, has reached the final in each of her four appearances here. She suffered her only defeat in last year's title match against home favorite Martina Hingis.

Switzerland has always been a land of opportunity for the 25–year–old Davenport. The American's run began at the 1993 European Open in Lucerne where she won her first career title at the age of 16. She went on to successfully defend that title the next year.

"I had a lot of confidence, I'd already won in Zurich twice," Davenport said. "And I served for the title here last year before losing to Martina so maybe I really should have four titles."

The opening set was a tight seesaw contest.

Committing four double faults, Dokic barely managed to cling to her opening serve, with Davenport then going to deuce four times to hang on to hers. Davenport then squandered two break points the next game, allowing Dokic once again to stay on serve.

At 2–2 Davenport recorded the first break with two points to spare when Dokic slammed the American's sizzling return into the net. But the Yugoslav immediately recovered her serve in a tight battle of wills, with Davenport saving six break points before finally yielding to a resolute Dokic.

However, the more experienced American finally surged into the lead, clinching the next three games as well as the set with a well–placed crosscourt forehand that left Dokic lunging in vain.

The second set was a more straight forward affair with Davenport sweeping the first five games, as a fading Dokic looked increasingly helpless.

Davenport broke the Yugoslav's opening serve at 30–40 when Dokic sent the ball long. She then easily held to go 3–0 with a love service game. She followed with another break when Dokic bungled a drop shot, the ball landing short as she came into the net.

A crosscourt smash lifted the American to a 5–0 lead and Davenport finally wrapped up the match at 5–1 with a love service game, Dokic unable to return one of the American's legendary thundering serves.

"In the beginning I thought she played very well and I was just fighting to stay in there," said Davenport, who has already qualified for the WTA Tour's year–end championship in Munich, Germany, from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4. "Every game was going to deuce many times. It was very evenly contested.

"But definitely in the second set she made a lot more errors. Her game got progressively worse as the match went on."

Dokic, who cracked the top–10 with her title at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow two weeks ago, moves up to ninth in the rankings with her result here.

"On this surface it's really hard to beat her," said Dokic, who had not dropped a set until the final. "In the second set I just made too many unforced errors and you can't do that with Lindsay. I was trying to go for it a bit too much and that's where you make mistakes.

"But I'm happy I got to the final. I've been playing very well and I'm pleased with the way my season has gone," added the Yugoslav, who won three titles this year, including her career first at the Italian Open in May.

Final results from the $1.185 million Swisscom Challenge (seedings in parentheses):

Singles Championship

(3) Lindsay Davenport (US) def. (4) Jelena Dokic (Yug) 6–3 6–1

Doubles Championship

(3) Lindsay Davenport and Lisa Raymond (US) def. Sandrine Testud (Fra) and Roberta Vinci (Ita) 6–3 2–6 6–2