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IMO - Lindsay should be able to compete in this tourney. I hope she makes it.

September 27, 2002 E-mail story Print

Lisa Dillman:
On Tennis
Davenport Has Points to Make

The drama regarding the WTA's season-ending championships traditionally has had more to do with who isn't playing than who is. Venus Williams, Monica Seles and Martina Hingis missed the event last year in Munich for various reasons. Williams suffered from an injured wrist, inspiring a brief WTA investigation that supported her contention. Hingis was recovering from torn ligaments in her right ankle, and Seles has refused to play any tournaments in Germany since her 1993 stabbing in Hamburg.

A year later, all three have qualified for the $3-million championships at Staples Center Nov. 6-11. Five others have secured singles spots--Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Amelie Mauresmo of France, Justine Henin of Belgium and Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia.

The race for the final eight singles berths is actually of more interest than usual to local fans and tournament officials because of one name: Lindsay Davenport of Laguna Beach.

Ordinarily, Davenport would have a spot secured by now. This year she is 20th in the race to the championships, which started with the first tournament of 2002. (The rankings are different, based on a rolling 52-week system.) Her status in the race might suggest Davenport is in danger of missing the championships for the first time since 1993, but that is slightly misleading. Only 240 points separate the 14th spot, occupied by Anna Smashnova of Israel, and Davenport.

Davenport, one of the early supporters of the championships' move from Munich to Los Angeles, has made up major ground after missing almost the first seven months of 2002 because of knee surgery. That stretch included three Grand Slam events, as well as Indian Wells and Key Biscayne, Fla. In five tournaments, Davenport has reached two finals and three semifinals.

The importance she has placed on qualifying for the Staples event is evident in her upcoming itinerary. After the U.S. Open, Davenport added an event to her schedule--next week's tournament in Moscow. She will then play the following two weeks, at Filderstadt, Germany, and in Zurich. If she hasn't qualified by then, she intends to add one more event, at Linz, Austria.

Anna Watch

Davenport's presence is important for the success of the event, which is being played in Los Angeles for the first time. Her picture is on the cover of the tournament brochure, along with those of Serena and Venus Williams. Then there's the Russian with long blond hair, pictured on the inside flap, right next to the phone number to order ticket packages and priority seating.

But will Anna Kournikova be on the tennis court at Staples Center? She is 31st in the singles race. But doubles apparently serves a purpose. If the race ended today, Kournikova and Hingis would qualify. They are sixth in the race, despite having played only four tournaments together in 2002.

Facts and Figures

The tournament begins Wednesday, Nov. 6, the day session at 12:30 and the evening session at 7. The semifinals Sunday are back-to-back, starting at 1 p.m. The singles final will be at 6:30 p.m., televised on ESPN and going head-to-head with "Monday Night Football." Tickets for individual sessions go on sale Saturday, through Ticketmaster at (213) 480-3232.


Billie Jean King and Friends, Honoring Joe Shapiro is Saturday, starting with a clinic at Cal State Los Angeles and finishing with a tribute dinner and auction at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington hotel in Pasadena. Details: (323) 343-3080. King has hosted a fund-raiser for the athletic department since 1998, raising more than $300,000. The Joe Shapiro Humanitarian award will be given out for the third time. Shapiro, who died in 1999, was the former general counsel for Walt Disney Co. and was married to Hall of Famer Pam Shriver.

Shriver anticipates about $120,000 will be raised this year, and she spoke about King's involvement.

"Obviously the school means a lot to her because it's where she had her launch point for her professional career," she said. "She cares about her past and how it helped her get to where she is."

In Las Vegas on the same night, the seventh Andre Agassi gala benefit will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Appearing, among others, will be Sir Elton John, Dennis Miller, Carlos Santana and Robin Williams. The previous six dinners have raised more than $18 million for charity, officials said.
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