Davenport Advances at U.S. Open

Lindsay Davenport (search) made it to the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open (search) for the 11th time in 12 events this year with a 6-0, 6-3 romp over France's Nathalie Dechy (search) on Monday. The American, trying to reach her third Grand Slam final of the year, has dropped only 18 games in four matches.

Davenport next plays either sixth-seeded Elena Dementieva, last year's runner-up, or No. 11 Patty Schnyder.

"It's hard to think about the next match yet. I'm just so happy to be in the quarterfinals," Davenport said. "I want to win this again. As long as I can keep going, I still have a chance."

Andre Agassi tried to become the fourth man over 35 — and the first since Jimmy Connors' run to the semifinals in 1991 — to reach the Open quarterfinals with a match against Belgium's Xavier Malisse later Tuesday. American James Blake, who stunned No. 2 Rafael Nadal, looked to continue his feel-good story against Spain's Tommy Robredo.

Justine Henin-Hardenne played Mary Pierce in a rematch of the French Open final in a night match at Arthur Ashe Stadium, while American Robby Ginepri took on France's Richard Gasquet.

Davenport has been No. 1 for all but a week since last October, and reached the finals in seven of her first 11 events this year. She missed several weeks before the Open with a nagging back injury, but came back to win in nearby New Haven, Conn., two weeks ago without dropping a set.

And the 29-year-old hasn't shown any signs of weakness so far at the Open, winning all of her matches in straight sets.

Davenport had never lost in seven previous meetings with Dechy, including two matches earlier this year. And she overpowered her again from the start, getting help from Dechy's shaky serve.

Dechy, seeded 15th, stood rooted to the baseline in the first set, watching winner after winner bounce by her. Davenport had twice as many winners (30-15) in the first set, and only eight unforced errors.

Dechy managed only five points off her serve in the first set, and finished the match with five double-faults. After one fault in the second set, she let out a shriek of frustration.

Davenport quickly went up 4-1 in the second set, breaking Dechy twice. But Dechy finally put up something of a fight, breaking out some forceful groundstrokes that had Davenport on the run.

It wasn't enough, though, as she dumped a forehand into the net to finish the match.

Venus Williams put an early end to Serena's U.S. Open hopes Sunday, beating her 7-6 (5), 6-2 in what had to be their most unsatisfying Grand Slam meeting yet. Instead of another title, all Venus got for this was a spot in the quarterfinals and a rematch with Kim Clijsters.

"Yeah, it was bizarre," said Venus, echoing the word her sister used to describe their earlier-than-usual meeting, which evened the sister series at seven each. "I think it was distracting for both of us, to be honest. ... If it's a final, it's obviously different. It was super-strange, that's for sure."

And Serena didn't like it one bit.

She struggled with her temper throughout the match, bouncing her racket a couple of times and one time looking as if she was going to break it. She stopped herself, but she gave one final shriek of despair when she dumped yet another forehand into the net to end the match.

When she went to shake hands with her big sister, Venus gave her a comforting pat.

"If it's later on," Serena said when asked if it's gotten easier to play her sister. "Early on, it's kind of very, very weird and awkward."

Things were much more orderly for the other seeds Sunday. Top seeds Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova advanced in straight sets, as did the fourth-seeded Clijsters and No. 9 Nadia Petrova. Former U.S. Open champion Lleyton Hewitt got a scare from American Taylor Dent, eking out a 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (2), 6-2, 7-5 victory.

No. 11 David Nalbandian and No. 15 Dominik Hrbaty advanced, and Davide Sanguinetti won the longest match of the Open so far, beating Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) in 4 hours, 24 minutes.

Though neither of their parents could bear to watch Sunday, Serena vs. Venus isn't the gut-wrenching, Shakespearean drama it once was. This was their 14th meeting in eight years, and ninth in a Grand Slam. Their previous six matches in the majors were all finals, with Serena winning the last five.

The twist to this was that it was their earliest meeting since 1998, when Venus won the first clash in the second round of the Australian Open.

"It's hard because I want her to be in the tournament," Venus said. "I want her to win just as much as I want to."

But neither Williams is quite at the top of her game. Venus, seeded 10th, is closer, having won her third Wimbledon title two months ago. Serena has missed much of the year with knee and ankle problems, and said earlier this week that she was at less than 50 percent.

It showed Sunday. Serena, seeded eighth, was in trouble from the start, double-faulting to fall behind 0-40 in the first game. She came back to hold serve, but it set the tone for the rest of the sloppy match.

"I definitely had my chances," Serena said. "I had a set point. I had a lot of different opportunities."