Davenport Dominates At Chase


Lindsay Davenport came up with a winning game and the word for it: awesome.

"Just an awesome way to end the year," Davenport said Sunday after beating top-ranked Martina Hingis 6-4, 6-2 to win the season-ending Chase Championships.

And it was.

Taking charge from the outset, Davenport overpowered Hingis to reverse the outcome of last year's title match at Madison Square Garden between the two.

"I went for it today, something I don't think I did last year," Davenport said. "So when I woke up today I just wanted to go for my shots, go for my winners and be the one who was dictating, and was able to do it all. Fortunately, it was a day where more of them went in than went out."

Sixty-one minutes after she had started, Davenport had earned the Billie Jean King Trophy and $500,000.

The final game was a perfect example.

Serving for the match, Davenport began with a wide ace. Then Hingis badly misplayed the next serve. Davenport closed the match with her eighth and ninth aces.

"The way I played the last three games, not letting her back in the match and closing her out, that's great," Davenport said. "That's something you hope you can do when you get into a situation to win a big title, and that's exactly what I did today."

The victory elevated Davenport into 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 post-match ceremonies.

"I think I'm very lucky for accomplishing everything I did," Davenport said. "I never thought I'd be at this point in my career to have won a major, let along any titles."

Last year, she came into the Chase Championships ranked No. 1 in the world. Hingis has regained that honor, but this year Davenport won just as many tournaments seven and captured Wimbledon and the Chase Championships.

To get to the final in this elite 16-player event, Hingis beat Venus Williams in the semifinals and Davenport defeated 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 used her power to control the points. Hingis is a master at changing speeds, directions and tactics.

But Davenport set u points with her huge serve or booming ground strokes, looking for an opening.

She started the match that way, breaking Hingis in the opening game at 30. A huge forehand down the line took her to game point, then another big forehand, this time going crosscourt, closed the break.

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

This was just the thing she needed as Hingis broke back in the sixth game at 30, helped by three unforced errors by Davenport. Hingis tried to exploit Davenport's lack of speed by occasionally tossing in a drop shot, then lobbing or 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. Davenport broke Hingis in the third and seventh games of the second set. In that set, she didn't face a break point on her service.

Hingis did wind up the year a winner, however. She teamed with Russia's Anna Kournikova to win the doubles title, defeating Larisa Neiland of Latvia and Spain's Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 6-4, 6-4.

Prior to the doubles final, there was an on-court ceremony honoring Jana Novotna, who has retired after a career that saw her win the Championships in 1997 and Wimbledon in 1998.

Neiland also played her final match on the WTA Tour. She won the French Open doubles in 1989 and Wimbledon doubles in 1991, both with Natasha Zvereva. On the final point of her career, she double-faulted.

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