Playing well past her bedtime, Lindsay Davenport fought off a suddenly feisty Elena Dementieva in a match that featured an 18-deuce game.
Davenport beat the Russian, 6-0, 6-1, in her opening match in the season-ending WTA Championships. Earlier, Serena Williams rallied to beat French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, and U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Vera Zvonareva, 6-2, 6-4.
The players are assigned to four-woman groups and play each other once. The two players with the best record from each group will advance to the semifinals.
Davenport's match ended just before midnight.
"I've been dying the last two nights trying to stay awake until 11 p.m.," said Davenport, who typically goes to sleep at 9 p.m. because her husband gets up at 5 a.m. for work.
Davenport was serving at 4-1 when she and Dementieva battled through 18 deuces before the American held serve and raised her arms in triumph as if the match was over. She then broke Dementieva to end the match.
Williams overcame 61 unforced errors to improve to 4-0 lifetime against Myskina. The Russian had never taken a set from Williams.
Myskina led 3-0 in the second during a stretch when Williams won just three points in four games, but Williams reeled off eight straight games.