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Familiar spot

Davenport in U.S. Open semis for second consecutive year

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Posted: Wednesday September 09, 1998 09:58 PM

  Davenport (above) will face Venus Williams on Friday's semifinals AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Back in the U.S. Open semifinals for a second straight year, Lindsay Davenport seems poised and primed for her run at a first Grand Slam championship.

"I've played well," she said after beating Amanda Coetzer 6-0, 6-4 in the quarterfinals Wednesday. "I haven't lost a set. I'm pretty focused on what I want to do. My goal is to get to the finals and win it."

In Friday's semis, Davenport will face fifth-seed Venus Williams, who advanced with a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory Wednesday night over Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

Davenport, ranked No. 3 and seeded No. 2 at the Open, ignored an achy elbow and blustery winds to breeze through the first set against Coetzer in just 18 minutes. But then she had to struggle a bit in the second after being forced off the court a couple of times because of passing showers.

"It was tough stopping and starting, then stopping and starting again," she said. "It's hard mentally more than anything."

The elbow didn't need the extra work.

"I think if anything, it's pretty much made me concentrate on just making first serves, not going for it too much, stuff that I need to do," she said.

Coetzer turned stubborn at the end, fighting off four match points before Davenport finally converted the fifth one.

"It was tough, especially in these conditions," Davenport said. "You never know what's going to happen. I really stayed positive. When I got back to deuce, I tried to give myself another opportunity to win the match. ... All of a sudden, she kind of stopped missing for a while. I hung in there. I was finally able to close it out."

Now she wants to close out the tournament.

A year ago, Davenport washed out in the semifinals against Martina Hingis.

"I was extremely nervous," she said. "I didn't play great. I played OK. In the semifinals, you have to play great. Obviously, the other player on the other side of the net has won just as many matches and is still there. You have to be concentrated and focused and play good tennis. That's what I'm going to try and do."

She is in the best shape of her career, playing on her favorite surface and riding the wave of three hardcourt tournament victories during the summer. She won 14 straight matches before losing in the semifinals of a pre-Open warmup tournament at New Haven, Conn.

"I feel I've done everything I can up to this point to try and win this tournament," she said. "I'm going to give it my best shot. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. If it happens, that's great."

She is trying to remain low key about her chances.

"I don't lie awake at night and just see myself winning a Grand Slam," she said. "I hate to put so much pressure on one match. This is my chance to get to the finals of the Open. I had a shot last year. Maybe I'll have another shot next year. You never know when it's your time."


Related information
Rafter, Davenport move into U.S. Open semis
Sanchez Vicario by any other name
Tuesday at a Glance
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