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Davenport Wins Title, Defeating Mauresmo

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Lindsay Davenport won the Pilot Pen championship Saturday at New Haven, Conn., defeating Amelie Mauresmo, 6-4, 6-4, after missing nearly two months because of a back injury.

Davenport, who was using the Pilot Pen as a tuneup for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday, showed few signs of rust, winning the tournament without losing a set.

“That was a big test for my back,” Davenport said.

“It was really important just to play some matches and hopefully get the rust out of my game. Obviously, to win the tournament and going into New York with that under my belt is a great feeling.”

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Though her appearance in the final guaranteed she’ll reclaim the world’s No. 1 spot from Russia’s Maria Sharapova on Monday, Davenport will be seeded second at the U.S. Open because the draw was set last week.

Davenport took control of the match early, breaking Mauresmo’s serve in the opening game. She also continued to improve her serve, which had been shaky early in the week. Davenport said she felt her service rhythm returning during the semifinals, and it showed Saturday as Mauresmo struggled at times to return cleanly.

That allowed Davenport to play closer to the net and to be more aggressive, a style Mauresmo said she couldn’t combat.

“She likes to come in, dictate and make big shots,” Mauresmo said.

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“I gave her the opportunity to play like that.”

Davenport said Saturday’s final was the first time this week she’d been able to play that way.

“I think that comes with playing more, the feeling, the confidence that you can come to the net and put balls away,” she said. “I think today was a great first step.”

Davenport improved to 10-3 against Mauresmo. She has won their last six meetings, including a close semifinal match at Wimbledon this year.

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“That’s the way it is,” Mauresmo said.

“Streaks are made to be broken, and I hope each time it’s going to be this time.”

In the men’s semifinals, fifth-seeded Feliciano Lopez rallied past third-seeded David Ferrer, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, and James Blake outlasted Victor Hanescu, 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (3-7), 6-1.

Blake is in his second final of the year, losing three weeks ago to Andy Roddick at Washington.

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Soccer

U.S. national team starters Claudio Reyna and Brian McBride scored in leading their English Premier League teams to victories.

Reyna helped send Manchester City past Portsmouth, 2-1, getting the tying goal in the 66th minute. Manchester City, which also got a goal from Andy Cole, is unbeaten in 12 consecutive Premier League games and is in second place.

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McBride scored in the 57th minute in Fulham’s 1-0 win over Everton, his former team. It was his second league goal of the season.

American defender Carlos Bocanegra, recovered from a knee injury, made his first start of the season for Fulham.

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College Football

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Sophomore Erik Ainge will start at quarterback in Tennessee’s opener, beating out senior Rick Clausen in a close competition.

But Coach Phillip Fulmer said both quarterbacks will play Sept. 3 at home against Alabama Birmingham. Fulmer added Ainge won’t automatically start for the third-ranked Volunteers in their second game of the season at Florida.

“Erik is our quarterback right now, but we have two quarterbacks,” Fulmer said. “Rick did a great job. It wasn’t one of those clear-cut things.”

Ainge and Brent Schaeffer got the nod last season ahead of Clausen and C.J. Leak. Schaeffer ended up starting the opener, but Ainge took over at midseason, leading the Volunteers to victories at Georgia and Alabama before separating his shoulder in November.

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Clausen started the final four games of the season. He was named the offensive most valuable player of the Cotton Bowl, a 38-7 victory over Texas A&M.; Schaeffer has transferred.

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Jurisprudence

The lawyer for jailed Arizona State football player Loren Wade wants a judge to dismiss a first-degree murder indictment against his client.

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Ulises Ferragut argued Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court in Mesa, Ariz., that the indictment should be tossed because the state gave an unfair presentation of the case to the grand jury on April 5.

Ferragut said the state mischaracterized witness statements and failed to disclose evidence that was favorable to Wade, who claimed he accidentally shot former Arizona State defensive back Brandon Falkner, 25.

The grand jury should have had the option of returning the less severe charges of manslaughter or negligent homicide because evidence shows the shooting was an accident, according to Ferragut.

Wade, a 21-year-old tailback from Los Angeles, is being held on $1-million bond.

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He is accused of fatally shooting Falkner outside a Scottsdale nightclub on March 26 when he reportedly got angry about Falkner speaking with his girlfriend.

Ferragut said a Scottsdale police detective testified that witnesses saw Wade walk up and shoot Falkner as he sat in his car.

But Ferragut claims the witnesses actually said Wade took a swing or hit Falkner in the head before the gun went off, which would be consistent with Wade’s story.

Prosecutor Catherine Hughes said the grand jury based its indictment decision on the statements of the three witnesses who had the best view of what happened -- the three men in the car with Falkner when he was shot.

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Miscellany

Defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland and Emirates Team New Zealand remained the only unbeaten boats in the Louis Vuitton Act 6 regatta after posting two match-race wins at Malmo, Sweden.

Alinghi, which swept New Zealand in the 2003 America’s Cup final, improved to 6-0 in the round-robin portion after the team beat BMW Oracle of the United States and Desafio of Spain.

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The Swiss have won 16 straight races this year.

The Louis Vuitton Acts are a series of 14 regattas that started last year as a prelude to the 2007 America’s Cup, which will be held off Valencia, Spain. The results of the pre-regattas will help seed the competition for the 2007 challenger trials.

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T.J. Simers is on vacation.

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