NEW YORK (AP) -- For Lindsay Davenport, the idea was to get off the court in a hurry and conserve her strength for Saturday's U.S. Open championship.
The problem was, Elena Dementieva simply wouldn't cooperate.
Eventually, Davenport escaped with a 6-2, 7-6 (5) victory and had to be happy to see Venus Williams play three grueling sets and stage a brilliant comeback before beating Martina Hingis 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in Friday's other semifinal.
That means No. 2 Davenport plays No. 3 Williams for the women's crown as the final match of Super Saturday. The program was to begin with marathon man Todd Martin playing No. 6 Marat Safin and No. 4 Pete Sampras, bidding to push his record to 14 Grand Slam victories, against No. 9 Lleyton Hewitt in the men's semifinals.
Dementieva won't be there, but she won the hearts of the National Tennis Center crowd with a gritty comeback that forced Davenport to use far more energy than it seemed she would need.
For energy expended, though, it would be hard to match the Williams-Hingis match, which was a tennis slugfest. The players matched each other shot-for-shot.
Hingis thought that might make a difference on Saturday. "Lindsay had an easier match," she said. "I gave Venus a hard time. We'll see if she can regroup herself."
Davenport was cruising against Dementieva, then suddenly was pressed to survive. The No. 2 seed was up 6-2, 5-2 and 40-love, sitting on three match points, when it all began to unravel. Dementieva started making shots, while Davenport started missing them, and in no time, the mismatch was a struggle for survival.
"It was going great," Davenport said. "I was playing exactly the way I wanted to. From there, I didn't put any first serves in. She started making some balls and I started missing some balls. Things just turn like that sometimes in tennis."
Dementieva seized the set, saving five match points, winning four straight games and forcing Davenport to scramble just to push it to a tiebreaker. "Maybe I understand that I'm already lost and then I start to play," the teen-ager said.
Eventually, Davenport prevailed against the unranked Russian, and was grateful for that. "Toward the end, I wasn't playing very well at all and she was playing a lot better," she said. "To get out of there in two sets, get out of here hopefully a little bit earlier will hopefully help."
Davenport got her wish when Hingis and Williams had a tense, taut match in which they exchanged brilliant shots for nearly two hours.
That left Davenport designing a plan for the championship. It was not a complicated task.
"I've played both so many times," Davenport said. "I'm curious about the outcome, but not curious point-by-point."
Williams and Hingis had the crowd howling over the high quality tennis they played in an exhausting match.
When it was over, Williams seemed excited, promising 90 mph second serves for Davenport, who said that would be no surprise.
"She serves much bigger, hits the ball much harder (than Hingis)," Davenport said. "It's a lot harder to control where you want the ball to go because it's coming a lot faster."
Williams trailed 5-3 in the third set, and it looked like Hingis would finish her off. But Williams would not budge and stretched her winning streak to 25 matches. She is 18-0 on hardcourts this year.
"I just wanted it," she said. "I had this winning streak. She already won the U.S. Open. Maybe it was my turn."
Davenport owns an Open crown, captured two years ago, and has a 9-5 career edge over Williams. But she has lost four of their last five meetings, including the final at Wimbledon two months ago.
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