Davenport, Williams have quite a history

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:19 PM ET

WIMBLEDON -- Fortunately, Venus Williams will not require lessons in history -- her own -- in order to defeat top-seeded Lindsay Davenport in the women's final at Wimbledon.

And there will be no multiple choice questions.

When asked yesterday if the last time she beat Davenport in a tournament was on grass -- which it was -- Williams answered: "I don't know."

When asked if she recalled her last match with the former champion, she said: "No, not really. It has been awhile."

When asked what her memories were of the 2000 Wimbledon final, in which she defeated Davenport, she answered: "Oh, for sure."

Then she didn't elaborate. Maybe this is what works best for Williams heading into the final today. The less reflective, the better. The less she thinks about the veteran Davenport, the better. If she plays her game, which was good enough to get her to the final, good enough to obliterate defending champion Maria Sharapova, why not do the same thing against Davenport?

For her part, Davenport has no plans to watch the tape of Williams' dominant win over Sharapova in the semi-finals.

"No," she said about studying the re-born Williams. "I've played Venus now I think close to 30 times. If I don't know her game ...

CLOSE, CRAZY MATCHES

"You know, in the beginning I was always winning. Then she was always winning. The last few times it has been me. But we both have kind of evolved quite a bit and still play these close, crazy matches."

The journey to this final for Davenport has been fraught with obstacles and distractions. She had to eliminate Kim Clijsters, Svetlana Kuznetsova and, yesterday, Amelie Mauresmo in a match that began on Thursday.

Stressful it has been. Leading 5-3 in the third set when the rain came, Davenport returned to Court 1 yesterday to lose the opening game, hold her serve with four straight points and defeat Mauresmo 7-6, 6-7, 6-4.

She was focussed on finishing off Mauresmo -- the two played a sparkling match that featured all kinds of twists and turns -- and barely had time yesterday to consider the final.

"To be honest, and not to disappoint you, but my mind is far from (the final) match. I've had this nervous energy for 24 hours. Obviously, I know I play Venus. She's obviously must be playing well.

"But for me right now it's more about getting through a really tough draw. I know this is a great opportunity. I haven't been in a final in a number years here at Wimbledon."

The last time was against Venus, five years ago. Just ask Williams. "I'd like to repeat that result."

She just couldn't remember the score.


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