Serena Williams issued a warning of sorts after beating the world’s two top-ranked players in consecutive matches.
“I haven’t even begun. I’m just warming up, basically,” she said with a smile, having extended the family winning streak to four tournaments today by rallying for a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1) victory over Lindsay Davenport to win the estyle.com Classic for the second straight year.
Following her win here last August, Williams went on to win the U.S. Open — her only Grand Slam championship.
Davenport, ranked second in the world, served for the match at 6-5 in the third set, but Williams broke at love to force a tiebreaker.
It was 1-1 when Davenport double faulted, and Williams then won the next five points to ending the 2-hour, 28-minute match.
Strong Post-Wimbledon Showing Williams took 11 of the match’s final 12 points to extend her career record against Davenport to 5-1.
“At 5-6, I was thinking I had to break or it’s the end of the match,” Williams said. “I didn’t want that, I made it happen.
“Even today, I made too many errors. I don’t know how I pulled it through. I wasn’t the same spunky person you usually see. Obviously, my groundstrokes really came through for me. I didn’t serve very well.”
The tournament at the Manhattan Club was the first for the 18-year-old Serena since Wimbledon, where she lost to older sister Venus in the semifinals.
Venus Williams beat Davenport in the final at Wimbledon for her first Grand Slam title, then prevailed in the Bank of the West and Acura classics before taking this week off. Davenport was runner-up in the Bank of the West, too.
Davenport’s Opportunity Lost Seeded fifth in this tournament and ranked seventh in the world mainly because she hasn’t played much this year, Serena rallied for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Martina Hingis, the world’s top-ranked player and No. 1 seed, in Saturday’s semifinals.
Williams won $87,000 and Davenport, seeded No. 2, earned $43,500 from the $535,000 purse. The temperature was measured at 92 when the match began, but was several degrees higher on the court.
“I can’t remember a match where I had so many chances and it didn’t go my way,” Davenport said. “So many times I was up and it seemed like my serve left me.”
Davenport committed 13 double faults, which she called “an extraordinarily high number for me,” and had nine aces.
Williams double-faulted eight times and had eight aces.
Final Tie Breaker Davenport broke Williams’ serve in the first, fifth and 11th games of the third set, but Williams broke back in the fourth, sixth and 12th games.
“Even at 6-5 (in the third set), she came up with some great shots,” Davenport said. “I got stuck hitting too many second serves. I was bad serving at certain times of the match. Everything else went well.”
The only service break of the first set came in the ninth game, when Williams double-faulted twice — the second on game point. Davenport then held serve to win the set.
Davenport carried her momentum into the second set, breaking Williams thanks in part to a double fault on the game’s final point to take a 1-0 lead. That would be the first of five breaks in the set.
After Davenport held in her first seven service games of the match, Williams broke in the sixth, eighth and 10th games of the second set to offset a break by Davenport in the seventh game.
Then came the back-and-forth third set.
“At the end, I switched up rather than doing the same old thing,” Williams said, pointing out she charged the net more in the late going. “That helped me a lot. If Plan A isn’t working, I have Plan B, Plan C and even Plan D.