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Davenport crushes Dechy to reach Open quarters

NEW YORK -- Bad news, ladies. Lindsay Davenport is hitting
her stride.

The 1998 champion made it to the quarterfinals for the 11th time
in 12 events this year with a 6-0, 6-3 romp over France's Nathalie
Dechy at the U.S. Open on Monday. The American, trying to reach her
third Grand Slam final of the year, has dropped only 18 games in
four matches.

"Today was the best match I've played since Wimbledon, I think,
even including New Haven," said Davenport, who won that Open
tuneup two weeks ago. "It's the kind of tennis I want to play. I'm
really happy to be in the quarters and doing well again at another
Grand Slam. It's a tricky matchup no matter who I play ... but I'm
just going to hopefully stay on the roll I've tried to get going."

Davenport next plays sixth-seeded Elena Dementieva, last year's
runner-up, who beat No. 11 Patty Schnyder in straight sets.

In a reversal of the French Open final, the 30-year-old Pierce
upset No. 7 Justine Henin-Hardenne 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarters
here for the first time since 1999 and only the second time in 13
trips to the U.S. Open. Pierce, seeded No. 12, had never won a set
in four matches against the Belgian on clay, grass and hard courts.

Frustrated by a series of injuries, Davenport said at Wimbledon
last year that she was contemplating retirement at the end of the
season. But the 29-year-old Californian went on a superb run,
reaching the semifinals at the Open and climbing back to No. 1.

It's been more of the same this year. Though she's seeded No. 2
here behind Maria Sharapova, she's been ranked No. 1 for all but a
week. She was the runner-up at both the Australian Open and
Wimbledon, and has reached the finals in five other events, winning
three titles.

She was limited by a back injury for much of the summer, pulling
out of a tournament at Stanford three weeks after Wimbledon and not
playing again until New Haven. But there's no talk of retirement
now.

"It's not really in my mind," said Davenport, who already has
set part of her schedule for next year. "If I won here, I wouldn't
stop. I would finish the year."

With the way she's playing, there's no reason to put the rackets
away. Davenport won New Haven without dropping a set, and has won
all of her matches here in straight sets.

"I'm going to have tougher matches from here on out," she
said. "Hopefully I'm up to the task."

Davenport had won her previous seven matches against Dechy,
including two earlier this year, and she overpowered her from the
start Monday. Dechy, seeded 15th, stood rooted to the baseline in
the first set, watching winner after winner bounce by her.

"She's given me some problems in the past. In Australia, I was
really struggling to control the points," Davenport said. "Here
today, I felt like even some of the games I lost, I was dictating
the points, hitting the ball well, not letting her take the balls
early and step in."

Dechy managed only five points off her serve in the first set,
and finished the match with five double-faults. After one fault in
the second set, she let out a shriek of frustration.

After falling behind 4-1 in the second set, Dechy rallied a bit,
breaking out some forceful groundstrokes that had Davenport on the
run. But it was too little, much too late.

Davenport finished with 30 winners, double those for Dechy,
while committing only eight unforced errors. She had seven aces,
and got her first serve in 71 percent of the time.

"I think she played one of the best matches against me," Dechy
said. "She stepped in as soon as the match started and played some
really unbelievable shots. I was very impressed by her level of
tennis today."