Monday, August 12, 2002

Rubin upsets Davenport to win JPMorgan Chase Open

AP Sports Writer

Chanda Rubin hits a backhand against Lindsay Davenport during the first set Sunday.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — Chanda Rubin upset No. 3 Lindsay Davenport 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3 to win the JPMorgan Chase Open on Sunday in a final between two players making comebacks from knee surgery.

        Davenport served for the match in the second set after trailing 3-0, but Rubin broke back and went on to beat the woman she used to compete against in the 12-and-under division.

        “She was better than me in the 12-and-unders,” said Davenport, who holds an 8-3 career advantage against Rubin and hadn't lost to her since 1995.

        Rubin, from Lafayette, La., proved better than some of the game's biggest players this week.

        She won her second title of the year and fifth of her career with three consecutive victories over higher ranked players. She stunned Serena Williams, the world's No. 1 woman, in a three-set quarterfinal, then beat fifth-ranked Jelena Dokic 6-0, 6-2 in the semifinals before defeating the ninth-ranked Davenport.

        “It has definitely been one of the best weeks, if not the best,” Rubin said. “It gives me a great deal of confidence. Hopefully, I can take it into the U.S. Open and cause some trouble there. I think my chances are very good.”

        Rubin came into Manhattan Beach ranked 21st, and she will rise to about 15 when the WTA Tour rankings are released Monday. She earned $93,000.

        Rubin and Davenport both underwent knee surgery by the same doctor in Vail, Colo., days apart in January. It was Rubin's second surgery on the same left knee in one year.

        She returned in May and won her first title of the year on grass at Eastbourne in June. She is 23-7 since coming back.

        “I've used it to motivate me,” she said of her surgeries. “I've worked overtime twice to get myself back into shape and get fit. I deserve to win these matches.”

        Davenport had her right knee operated on, and returned three weeks ago, reaching the semifinals at Stanford and Carlsbad, Calif., and then the final in her hometown tournament. She is 9-3 since her comeback began.

        “I played well, but I didn't play well when it was close,” said Davenport, who won here in 1996, '98 and last year.

        Davenport served for the match leading 5-4, 30-15 in the second set. But she double-faulted, then missed a backhand wide to trail 30-40. She missed another backhand and Rubin broke to tie the set at 5-all.

        “I thought my chances were pretty dismal at that point,” Rubin said. “I had to accept the challenge, make her win the match and scramble for a few shots, which I did, and take the chance again when I got it.”

        Rubin held for a 6-5 lead, then Davenport fought off two break points to hold at 6-all and force the tiebreaker. Rubin won the tiebreaker 7-5 when Davenport dumped a forehand into the net on Rubin's serve.

        “I started off a bit nervous and never really relaxed,” Rubin said. “I was struggling to get through. I stayed in and fought.”

        Neither player served well throughout the two-hour, 19-minute match. Rubin had 10 double faults to Davenport's 11, and both struggled to get first serves in.

        “I'm a little bit disgusted. I had absolutely zero rhythm,” Davenport said of her usually booming serve. “I got broken a ton of times.”

        Both players had more unforced errors (a combined 132) than their 96 combined winners.

        “It was about two people trying to find that little bit extra at the end,” said Rubin, who slightly twisted her left ankle in the seventh game of the third set.

        Rubin led 3-1 in the third before Davenport tied it. She broke Davenport for a 4-3 lead, then went up 5-3 with an ace, and broke Davenport to win on her third match point.

        Both 26, Davenport and Rubin turned pro within two years of each other. Starting out, they traveled with the same USTA coach, were roommates and played doubles together.

        Davenport has had the greater success, winning three Grand Slam titles and reached the No. 1 ranking. Rubin has never been higher than No. 6, and had her career interrupted by injury three times.

        “She really helped me when I first started playing on the pro tour. She was my best friend,” Davenport said. “She's had a very tough road, even tougher than mine. She's improved a lot. She'll definitely get to the top 10.”


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