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Davenport wins easily in comeback

September 11, 2007 20:22 IST

Lindsay Davenport swept to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Eleni Daniilidou at the Bali Classic on Tuesday, looking as if she had never been away.

The 31-year-old American, who was playing her first singles match in almost a year after giving birth to a son in June, took just three games to get into her stride.

From 1-2 she claimed an astonishing 20 consecutive points to take the opening set.

A break to love put her 2-1 up in the second and a forehand error from her fifth-seeded Greek opponent gave Davenport a decisive 4-1 lead. The American then closed out the match with her ninth ace.

"You never really know what to expect after a year off and especially having a baby, so to come out and play the way I did is so exciting and it means a lot to me," a delighted Davenport told reporters.

Daniilidou had reached the semi-finals in New Haven immediately before the U.S. Open and she showed her class with some strong backhands and by fighting back from 0-40 to take the opening game.

Once Davenport found her stride Daniilidou's challenge crumbled, however, and the American produced some fine returns and punishing serves.

"It was a challenge out there for me after not playing for so long," said Davenport. "I was trying to focus a lot and to be real concentrated and I'm really happy I won. It did exceed my expectations." 

Davenport believes that staying in shape during her pregnancy has played a big part in her being ready to compete again so soon.

"I was completely mentally retired," she said. "The day I found out I was pregnant I was, 'Oh well, tennis is done', and it really wasn't until March or April I started to think about it. For months and months I thought I was done.

"But I made a very conscious decision to be really healthy for my son and I read a lot of books about nutrition and exercised during pregnancy. So I stayed in shape but not for the purpose of coming back. I think that really helped me rebound so quickly.

"I'm still a little ways. It's only been three months and I still have a bit of weight to lose, I still need to work on my movement around the court. I haven't had that much time to focus on that aspect of it. At the beginning I was really working on my timing. But I think in four to six months that'll come back hopefully."

Third seed Patty Schnyder of Switzerland shrugged off a stomach complaint to defeat China's Zhang Shuai 6-4, 6-2 while German sixth seed Martina Muller laboured for one hour 44 minutes to beat Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus 6-3, 6-3.

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