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V. Williams overpowers Davenport

SHARE V. Williams overpowers Davenport

STANFORD, Calif. — In a rematch of the Wimbledon final, Venus Williams overpowered Lindsay Davenport to claim the $535,000 Bank of the West Classic 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday.

The top-seeded Davenport, ranked second in the world, had won the past two Bank of the West titles, both against Williams in the final. This time, it was Williams who emerged the winner.

Williams, seeded second and ranked third, now has an unbeaten streak of 11 matches, dating back to her loss to Arantxa Sanchez-Vacario in the quarterfinals the French Open.

Williams easily took the first set under sunny skies at Stanford University. With serves regularly exceeding 110 mph, Williams was composed throughout.

Davenport, who won the Australian Open this year, appeared slow and unfocused. Williams broke her serve to go up 3-1 in the first set with a backhand that Davenport didn't even attempt to return.

In the second set, Davenport mounted a comeback, this time breaking Williams to go up 3-1. But Williams broke Davenport's serve in the following game to narrow the margin.

With the second set tied at 3-all, the crowd took Davenport's side, cheering loudly when a powerful cross-court forehand won her the next game.

Williams broke Davenport to go up 5-4, then hit an 122-mph ace in the final game. Match point was a well-placed forehand that went wide when Davenport tried to return it.

Davenport and Williams have met 14 times, with Davenport winning nine matches. Williams, however, has won four of the last five, including her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.

Williams made her professional debut in the Bank of the West in 1994, when it was played in Oakland. She has played in the tournament six times, but Sunday was her first title.

Williams reached the finals by defeating ninth-seeded Anna Kournikova 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday. Davenport defeated No. 4 seed Monica Seles 7-5, 7-6 (2) in Saturday's other semifinal.

Only seven other women have won three consecutive tournament titles in the same event. Martina Navratilova won the Bank of the West three straight years, 1978-80.