Tennis: 3 straight double-faults doom Davenport at US Open
By HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Tennis Writer
By HOWARD FENDRICH
NEW YORK — One double-fault? Lindsay Davenport could accept that. Two in a row? Tough to swallow, but it happens, even to the best of players. Three, back-to-back-to-back? Ugh.
Finally having worked her way back into her third-round match at the U.S. Open, finally even in the second set against Marion Bartoli at 5-all, Davenport devolved into an amateur for a few rough minutes Friday night.
To put it in the simplest of terms: Davenport — a three-time Grand Slam title winner, a woman formerly ranked No. 1 — could not get a serve in. She hit seven consecutive faults, then later double-faulted a fourth time in the game en route to a 6-1, 7-6 (3) loss to the 12th-seeded Bartoli at Flushing Meadows.
"I guess they call it 'the yips' on your serve. I don't know where it came from," Davenport said. "Probably came from all my years making fun of people that had it. That was my karma coming back."
For the 32-year-old Davenport, this might have been her final singles match at the U.S. Open, which she won in 1998.
The American turned down a chance to speak to the crowd afterward, and later said she was too angry about what had just transpired to consider whether she would be back.
"All I know is I have doubles at 2:30 tomorrow. That's about as far as I'm thinking," said Davenport, who returned to the tour last year after taking an 11-month break when she had a son. "I think it's tough to make any kind of decision in a rash moment, and there was no decision made before the tournament, so, you know, I don't think it's time to make a certain statement now."
After a no-contest first set, Davenport fell behind 4-2 in the second and faced three break points there. In other words, Bartoli had three chances to take a 6-1, 5-2 lead. But 2007 Wimbledon finalist wasted each of those opportunities.
Then, serving while down 5-3, Davenport faced a match point but saved it with an ace that curled onto a line.
"Nothing I can do about it," Bartoli said.
With Bartoli serving for the match at 5-4, Davenport broke her to get to 5-all — and then handed the break right back in the most inexplicable of ways.
Looking much like you or me at a local public park, instead of a seasoned professional on as big a stage as the sport has, Davenport just kept double-faulting. Yes, three in a row, four in a single game! After one of her misses, Davenport dropped her shoulders, slumped over and shook her head.
"Gosh," Davenport said. "Played one of the worst games of my career."
Quite a statement, coming from someone who has played 947 matches.
"At the end, maybe she was a bit tired," said Bartoli, who hits two-handed off both wings. "Maybe that's why she didn't serve so well."
The fourth double-fault, on Bartoli's sixth break point of the game, put the Frenchwoman in position to serve for the match again. Yet again, Bartoli folded, allowing Davenport to convert her second break point with a big forehand to force a tiebreaker.
Davenport wasn't done with those "yips." She double-faulted on the tiebreaker's opening point, and this time, there was no recovery. Davenport slapped a forehand into the net on Bartoli's third match point, then chucked her racket to the sideline.
"It was some of my least great tennis out there," Davenport said, "and I still was trying to stay positive and try to, you know, turn it around. That was probably the one positive I'll take out of this match."