First U.S. champ since '82 never lost a setMom always was there, driving Lindsay Davenport to tennis lessons and providing emotional support, even when others scoffed at her daughter's ability.
And Ann Davenport was there Saturday, celebrating her birthday, when Lindsay won the U.S. Open.Playing in her first Grand Slam final, Davenport smashed forehand and backhand winners down the lines and won 12 of the last 15 points in a 6-3, 7-5 victory over defending champion Martina Hingis.
Davenport, the first American-born women's champion at the U.S. Open since 1982, did not lose a set in the seven rounds of the tournament, worth a $700,000 first prize.
"I guess she thinks she's getting a really nice gift now," Davenport said as she accepted the check, breaking into a laugh as she looked at her mom in the players' box.
After hitting a backhand volley winner on match point, the champion put her hands on her head in disbelief, then looked lovingly at her racket before smiling at her mom.
"It's just a great story. She's the one that used to drive me hours and hours and hours to go practice, since I was 6 when I started playing tennis," Davenport said. "I think I've had three or four people in my career that have stuck with me the whole time and believed in me since Day 1."
A few hours after Davenport defeated the world's top women's player, the men's No. 1 lost as well. Four-time champion Pete Sam-pras, hobbled by a strained left quadriceps, was ousted 6-7 (8-10), 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 by defending champion Patrick Rafter in the semi-finals.
Sampras, aiming for a record-tying 12th Grand Slam singles title, was hurt late in the third set and played the rest of the three-hour match with bandages around his leg.
The third-seeded Rafter will face unseeded Mark Philippoussis in an all-Australian final Sunday. Philippoussis had 21 aces in a 6-1, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory over No. 10 Carlos Moya.
Philippoussis won 85 percent of his first-serve points, hitting some serves at 130 mph. His second serves were as fast as 120 mph.
Davenport is not the fastest player on the women's tour. Though she's extremely powerful, she's not as athletic as players such as Venus Williams, whom she defeated in the semifinals. And she's never been surrounded by the hype attached to some of her peers.
Though she said capturing the U.S. Open always was her biggest goal, Davenport said winning a Grand Slam title was not essential to make her life complete.
"I always said that if I never won one, I'd still be a great person and I'd still like myself and I'd still keep on playing tennis," she said. "I feel like it's a great, great script. And I think not a lot of people ever picked me to win a Grand Slam."
Davenport is the first American-born woman to win the singles championship since Chris Evert won the last of her six titles in 1982. Martina Navratilova, a native of Czechoslovakia, won the title as a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1983-84 and 1986-87.
Hingis, 17, who kept her No. 1 world ranking despite the loss, was trying to become the youngest woman to retain a U.S. Open title. She had won her previous three Grand Slam finals.
This is the first year since 1990 that four different women have won the Grand Slam singles titles - Hingis won the Australian Open, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario won the French Open and Jana Novotna won at Wimbledon.
On a sun-drenched day, Davenport got an early service break for a 2-1 lead in the first set by dictating play with sharp volleys and passing shots. Hingis was handcuffed by the wildness that bothered her throughout the tournament.
Davenport will face Hingis again Sunday in the women's doubles final, and Hingis said she hopes her opponent celebrates the singles title by partying Saturday night. Davenport said that's likely.
"I probably won't be 100 percent tomorrow, I'll tell you that now," Davenport said. "This only happens you don't know how many times in your career. I plan to enjoy the next couple of days a lot."