Aus Open: Davenport through to round 2

Lindsay Davenport lost the second but recovered in the deciding set to win her first-round match 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 over Sara Errani at the Australian Open.

updated: January 15, 2008 17:18 IST
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The two ladies dressed in oversized Uncle Sam hats and with American flags painted on their faces don't know what they missed. They left after the second set.

Lindsay Davenport lost the second but recovered in the deciding set to win her first-round match 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 over Sara Errani at the Australian Open on Monday, her first major since giving birth to son Jagger last June and after taking an extended layoff.

Davenport has had extraordinary success since returning to the tour, winning three titles in four events, including last week's Auckland tournament.

She is now 19-1 during the span, including previous wins over Errani at Auckland and Bali.

After the match, a WTA Tour official said the first-round prize money made Davenport the all-time career prize-winning leader for women's sports at $21,897,501.

That total passes Steffi Graf's 10-year record and one that golfer Annika Sorenstam is still chasing, WTA Tour communications manager John Dolan said.

Davenport said she did not play well.

''It was definitely the most challenging match I've had since coming back,'' said Davenport. ''Ironically (I) played the worst that I've played since I've been back.

''A lot of factors involved in that ... it was quite windy, she played very, very well, and was making me not hit the ball so cleanly. But at the end of the day, I got through it.''

Davenport's backhand went missing for much of the second set and she frequently gave up on shots she knew she couldn't reach.

When Davenport tried to get back into the second set, on serve and trailing 4-3, two lovely drop shots by the Italian player gave Errani a break. In the next game, she took the set.

Leading 5-4 in the deciding set, Davenport had an extended argument with chair umpire Emmanuel Joseph of France when he overruled a linesman on a point to give Errani, who was serving, a 15-0 lead.

''You're now overruling the far line at 5-4 in the third set, are you crazy?'' Davenport said during the match.

She regained her composure and had match point later in the game, but Errani's backhand to an open court saved it. Errani saved another match point in the same game and held to tie it 5-5.

But 31-year-old Davenport, broken twice in the set, won it on her third match point in the 12th game when Errani hit a forehand into the net.

''I was upset, and I thought he made a bad decision,'' Davenport said of the line call. ''But I still came back that game and almost won the match ... I thought I did a good job of putting it behind me.''

Davenport will face a tougher test in the second round against fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova. Sharapova, who lost the final here last year to Serena Williams, beat Jelena Kostanic Tosic 6-4, 6-3.

''It will be interesting. It will be the first Grand Slam winner I've played since being back,'' Davenport said. ''I'm gonna have to definitely hit the ball well, be more aggressive than I was today, just basically do everything a lot cleaner.''