Davenport wins season-ending Chase Championships

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The Independent Online

Lindsay Davenport played her game to perfection today, dominating the world's No 1 player to win the season-ending Chase Championships.

Lindsay Davenport played her game to perfection today, dominating the world's No 1 player to win the season-ending Chase Championships.

Taking charge from the opening stroke, Davenport overpowered Martina Hingis 6-4, 6-2 to reverse the outcome of last year and go for the big shots, Davenport said. "I did everything well."

The final game was a perfect example.

Serving for the match, Davenport began with a wide ace against her Swiss opponent. Then Hingis badly misplayed the next serve, putting Davenport ahead 30-0. The American closed the match with her eighth and ninth aces of the day.

It was the second straight week Davenport had faced Hingis in a title match. And for the second straight week, it was Davenport who walked off the court with the trophy. Along with her victory in Philadelphia, the Chase Championships crown was Davenport's seventh of the year.

This one on the blue Madison Square Garden court was worth $500,000, and put her in the exalted company of other Championships winners, including Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles. A blue banner with the names of all the winners, including Davenport, was raised to the rafters of the arena during the post-match ceremonies.

To get to the final in this unique 16-player event, Hingis beat third-ranked Venus Williams in the semi-finals while Davenport downed No 6 Nathalie Tauziat.

"Yesterday I had a great victory against Venus, but Lindsay was a level too good today," Hingis said. "Venus has the hardest serve, but Lindsay the best placed, and pretty big, too. She doesn't miss from the baseline."

Davenport was determined to use her power to control the points. Hingis is a master at changing speeds, directions, pace and tactics, anything that it takes to win.

But it was the Davenport strategy that prevailed this time. She set up points with her huge serve or booming ground strokes, looking for an opening.

She started off the match that way, breaking the 19-year-old Swiss right-hander in the opening game at 30, a huge forehand down the line taking her to game point, then another big forehand, this time going crosscourt, closed out the break.

In the fifth game, Davenport broke again, the time from deuce and this time with a big backhand crosscourt that ticked off the top of Hingis' racket.

It was just what she needed as Hingis, determined to successfully defend her title, broke back in the sixth game at 30, helped by three unforced errors by Davenport.

When she was in control of the points, Hingis tried to exploit Davenport's lack of movement by tossing in a drop shot occasionally, then lobbing, or sometimes chipping and charging, anything to change the momentum.

Davenport had most of the answers. A couple of times she reached a drop shot and flicked the ball crosscourt.

But for most of the 61 minutes the two fought for the third time this year - all, by the way, won by Davenport - it was the eventual champion who dictated play with her deep groundstrokes with heavy pace.

Davenport broke Hingis in the third and seventh games of the second set. In that set, she did not face a break point on her service.

Chase Championships results

Singles final (seeds in brackets)

(2) Lindsay Davenport (US) beat (1) Martina Hingis (Switzerland) 6-4 6-2

Doubles final

(1) Martina Hingis (Switzerland)/Anna Kournikova (Russia) beat (4) Larisa Neiland (Latvia)/Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (Spain) 6-4 6-4