Young California pro finds place in big time by accident TENNIS

August 28, 1993|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Six months after she turned pro, 17-year-old Lindsay Davenport of Palos Verdes, Calif., got a taste of the big leagues here last night.

Davenport and her partner, Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina, were out-dueled by Spain's Aranxta Sanchez Vicario and Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic, 7-5, 6-3, before 4,026 fans on the third night of the Elizabeth Arden Women's Tennis Association Challenge at the William H. G. FitzGerald Tennis Center.

Lutherville's Pam Shriver was defeated by Amanda Coetzer of South Africa, 6-3, 6-3, in the second match.

All six players are part of a unique team competition similar to the Davis Cup.

Coetzer, Sanchez Vicario and Novotna represented the Rest of the World team, while Shriver, Sabatini and Davenport represented the Americas team.

The two wins last night gave the Rest of the World a 4-2 lead.

Davenport, ranked 26th in the world, was playing in place of Mary Joe Fernandez, who was forced to pull out of the match because of abdominal pain, event officials said. Fernandez, ranked No. 7 and from Miami, is expected to play tonight against Novotna.

L Sabatini will face Sanchez Vicario in tonight's other match.

The team of Sanchez Vicario and Novotna broke Davenport's serve in the 12th game of the first set, and Novotna held to win the set.

In the second set, Sabatini was broken twice and Davenport once as Sanchez Vicario and Novotna continued to pressure their opponents and eventually close out the match.

Davenport said being on the court with three top 10 players was unsettling.

"I was real nervous," she said. "I just wanted to do well and keep it close and hopefully pull off an upset."

Coetzer, ranked No. 16, survived a break and broke Shriver twice in both sets in her victory.

Shriver said she was pleased with her performance.

"I thought I played well," she said. "Both sets were close. But, as typical for a player who hasn't played in 2 1/2 months, it was a couple of points that made the difference . . . Overall, considering my summer, I'm encouraged."

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