TOKYO - Lindsay Davenport’s fourth Pan Pacific Open title was the product of a familiar combination: overpowering serves and pinpoint groundstrokes.
The second-seeded Davenport needed just 58 minutes to beat Magdalena Maleeva 6-4, 6-1 Sunday at Tokyo’s Metropolitan Gymnasium for her second straight win in the event.
“The serve was the main reason,” Davenport said. “It’s easier to hit groundstrokes well when you know you’re going to hold serve.”
Maleeva, who reached the final when American Chanda Rubin pulled out of the semifinals due to an injured left knee, was no match for Davenport.
“I tried everything today, but she was just too good,” Maleeva said. “The main difference was the serve. She served really well and I really needed to have a higher percentage of first serves in.”
Davenport, who also won this event in 1998 and 2001, was never in any trouble in Sunday’s match. She broke serve with a blistering crosscourt forehand to take a 4-3 lead in the first set and never looked back.
“I just tried to play as aggressive as possible,” said Davenport, who finished with seven aces. “The surface here is fast and that really helps my serves and groundstrokes.”
Maleeva was up 3-2 in the first set but couldn’t contain Davenport.
Davenport, who lost in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to eventual winner Justine Henin-Hardenne, breezed through every match in this tournament. Sunday’s match was her longest.
Davenport lost in three sets to Maleeva the last time the two players met in the finals at the 2002 Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
Top-seeded Venus Williams of the United States was forced to pull out of the tournament on Friday because of a sore shin.
Davenport was philosophical about not facing Williams in the final.
“I learned long ago that you can never control the draws,” Davenport said. “It’s unfortunate Venus couldn’t continue to play. It would have been nice to have beaten Venus in the final, but I’m just happy to have won the tournament against whoever I played.”
After 16 consecutive years of always showing up at Wimbledon, winning five titles along the way, Venus Williams pulled out of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament Tuesday, citing a lower back injury.
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