Davenport cruises to quarters

Second-seed Lindsay Davenport made an authoritative comeback from injury at the $1.08 million Swisscom Challenge in Zurich today, easily dispatching Belgium's Sabine Appelmans in her first tournament since pulling out injured of the Sydney Olympics.

Second-seed Lindsay Davenport made an authoritative comeback from injury at the $1.08 million Swisscom Challenge in Zurich today, easily dispatching Belgium's Sabine Appelmans in her first tournament since pulling out injured of the Sydney Olympics.

Davenport, who had to default from the Sydney games with a foot injury, served up 11 aces on way to eliminating Appelmans 6-2, 6-1 for a place in the quarterfinals.

"I felt I competed really well, all things considered," said Davenport, who won the title in both previous appearances in 1997 and 1998, but withdrew from last's year's tournament with a wrist injury. "I'm happy to be back playing."

Meanwhile, fourth-seeded Anna Kournikova and qualifier Anastasia Myskina each defeated Russian compatriots to advance to the round of eight, one with an expected victory, the other with a remarkable upset win.

Davenport, plagued with health problems this year including back and wrist injuries, had been battling tendonitis in her left foot since May.

"My foot feels okay but I think I might feel it tomorrow so I'm happy for the day off," said the American, who took three weeks off to nurse her foot. "For the most part I've been disappointed with my year with all my health problems so I didn't want to sit this one out."

Davenport began strongly, quickly breaking the Belgian's serve twice to jump to a 4-1 lead.

Appelmans appeared to get back on track, immediately regaining one of her serves to narrow the gap to 4-2 but on her next service game, double faulted twice at 30-0, losing her composure and the game.

Davenport opened the second set with a break, then took the Belgian's serve again at 3-1.

In a desperate effort, down 5-1 and 40-15, Appelmans saved one match point with a blistering ace, then another with a superb shot down the line. But the patient American proved just too strong for the struggling Belgian, closing out the match with a simple passing shot.

Davenport, who won the Australian Open, Indian Wells earlier this year, could regain the world number one spot in the rankings with a strong performance this week.

Kournikova, still seeking her first WTA Tour career singles title, needed just 61 minutes to eliminate 43rd-ranked Tatiana Panova 6-3, 6-3 to win only her third match in as many appearances at the prestigious tournament.

The 19-year-old, who won the doubles title with top-ranked Martina Hingis in Filderstadt last week, appeared relaxed and in control throughout the match.

"I was very confident and not nervous at all," said Kournikova, who has reached the semifinals six times this season including San Diego, where she upset Davenport and French veteran Nathalie Tauziat.

Another Russian with obvious potential, Myskina, ranked 55th by the WTA Tour, eliminated eighth seed and Olympic silver medallist Elena Dementieva, ranked 18th, 6-4, 2-6, 6-1.

The 19-year-old Myskina, who began her Swisscom Challenge debut with an identical 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 victory over local favorite Patty Schnyder, ranked 31 places above her, will seek her third upset of the tournament when she faces Hingis in the quarterfinals.

In other second-round play, American Chanda Rubin, seeded seventh, advanced to the quarterfinals when her German opponent Jana Kandarr withdrew with an abdominal muscle strain.

Rubin will meet Davenport in the quarterfinals.

Comments