Davenport reaches third final in four tourneys since return

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Lindsay Davenport reached her third final in four events since her return to the WTA Tour, beating Austrian teen Tamira Paszek 6-4, 6-3 at the ASB Classic on Friday.

Davenport, 31, improved to 17-1 in singles since her return to the tour two months ago after the birth in June of her first child, son Jagger. She has dropped only one set in four matches en route to the final.

Davenport's opponent Saturday will be Aravane Rezai of France, who beat New Zealand wild card Marina Erakovic 6-3, 7-5 in the other semifinal Friday.

"It was very tough for me to play on this court, in front of this crowd," the 20-year-old Rezai said. "But I played well."

Paszek, 17, has improved her ranking into the top 50 in only 10 tournaments, twice reaching the last 16 in Grand Slam events.

"She's a great young player. It was fun to play her. She plays differently from some of the other players I've played here this week," Davenport said.

Paszek broke Davenport's serve in the first game of the match and held that break until the sixth game when Davenport broke back to tie the set at 3-3. The American broke again in the 10th game to clinch the first set.

Davenport saved a break point to win the opening game of the second set and then broke Paszek in a lengthy game to lead 2-0, going up 3-0 when she held serve.

Games went with serve to 5-3 when Davenport had the chance to serve out the match. She wasn't able to do so easily, however, and Paszek had four break points before Davenport clinched the game and match with her 10th ace.

"I still want to do a few things a little better," said Davenport, who will not play another tournament prior to the Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne on Jan. 14. "To reach the final here is a great way to start the year, regardless what happens tomorrow."