Davenport regains No. 1 ranking

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/A/Apdavenport.jpg' class='caption'> Lindsay Davenport will regain the women's world No. 1 ranking after beating Anna Chakvetadze of Russia 6-3, 6-3 on Friday to reach the Pilot Pen final.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:48 IST
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Lindsay Davenport will regain the women's world No. 1 ranking after beating Anna Chakvetadze of Russia 6-3, 6-3 on Friday to reach the Pilot Pen final against Amelie Mauresmo. Davenport had been No. 1 since October until this week when Maria Sharapova claimed the top spot for the first time. Sharapova didn't play this week, and Davenport had to make the final to become No. 1 again in Monday's new rankings. "If I win the US Open, I'll most likely stay there. So I'll just concentrate on that,'' Davenport said. Top-seeded Davenport will appear in her fifth Pilot Pen final and try to win it for the first time. Mauresmo and Davenport last competed in the Wimbledon semifinals. Davenport won that match and holds a 9-3 lifetime advantage over the second-seeded Frenchwoman. They took different paths through the semifinals. Davenport cruised past Chakvetadze in about an hour, while Mauresmo survived a three-hour marathon with Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues, winning 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2. Mauresmo immediately said she wanted to face Davenport. "Before a grand slam, you always want to compare yourself with the other best players,'' Mauresmo said. Both players are using the Pilot Pen as a tuneup for next week's US Open. This is the first full tournament for Davenport since losing the Wimbledon final. Injury layoff She sat out nearly two months with a back injury, costing her the top ranking. Mauresmo has played only one other event. Though she appeared rusty at times this week, Davenport said her back hasn't bothered her at all. After 14 double faults in her first two matches, she finished with five aces and just two double faults on Friday, showing the first sign that her dominating serve was returning. "I felt like I had a much better tempo to my serve,'' Davenport said. Mauresmo said she wasn't as aggressive as she wanted to be against unseeded Medina Garrigues. But after losing the first set, she battled in the second, forcing long rallies as both players struggled to gain an edge. Mauresmo couldn't capitalize on 10 of 11 break points in the set and Medina Garrigues capitalized on one of five. When she lost that set, a 90-minute marathon, Medina Garrigues said she felt tight and knew she couldn't keep up Mauresmo's pace. "If I play against her like her game, I don't have a chance because she's better than me,'' she said. "Her physique is better than me and I have to play more hard and more strong and put pressure against her.'' Mauresmo appeared in control in the third set, delivering four of her five aces and breaking serve twice. Shortly after, Mauresmo withdrew from the doubles draw, citing heat sickness. She was scheduled to compete alongside Nathalie Dechy of France. Hanescu in semi-finals In men's action, Romania's Victor Hanescu rallied past fourth-seeded Tommy Robredo 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4 to reach his first semifinals of the year. He also ensured the final will feature one unseeded player. "Until now I wasn't used to playing on hardcourts,'' Hanescu said. "We don't have in Romania courts like this. This year I start to play better and better on this kind of courts, so I am feeling confident now.'' Hanescu saved all 13 break points against him, including 11 in the final set of the quarterfinal. He broke the Spaniard once in each of the second and third sets, and advanced to meet James Blake. The American wild card served 12 aces in defeating Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3. Lopez advances With four Spaniards in the quarterfinals of an ATP hardcourt event for the first time since 2002, a second lost when fifth-seeded Feliciano Lopez defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 in an all-Spanish match. Lopez, a Wimbledon quarterfinalist, improved to 2-1 against his friend since childhood. Lopez's father coached Verdasco for four years when he was a teenager. "I am happy I won but it's always difficult to play against a friend,'' Lopez said. "I was lucky.'' Lopez will play for a spot in the final against third-seeded countryman David Ferrer, who beat Igor Andreev of Russia 6-3, 6-4 for the first time in three meetings. Ferrer, playing in his fifth semifinal of the season, has never met Lopez. (AP)

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