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Place: Sydney, Australia
Date: January 12-17
Prize: $600,000
Draw: 32
Surface: hard (outdoor)
Website Draw Livescore

1st Dementieva - Makarova

Place: Auckland, New Zealand
Date: January 05-11
Prize: $220,000
Draw: 32
Surface: hard (outdoor)
Website Draw Livescore

F Dementieva - Vesnina 6-4; 6-1
SF Dementieva - Rezai 6-2; 6-2
QF Dementieva - Peer 6-3; 6-1
2nd Dementieva - Erakovic 6-2; 6-3
1st Dementieva - Chan 7-5; 6-3

Tired Sharapova Flattened by Dementieva.


On Friday night, Elena Dementieva had no idea how she would beat Maria Sharapova, whom had she a 1-5 record against entering the semifinals. But after a talk with her older brother, Vsevolod, her fill in coach this week, she decided to play calmer and not try to end the points in a twist of her blonde ponytail.

The strategy worked perfectly, as she battered the exhausted 19-year-old 7-5 6-2, ending Sharapova’s nine match winning streak on hard courts. She broke Sharapova down from the forehand side, battered her second serves and stayed tough in backhand rallies. She rarely overplayed ball and mostly played deep, while a flat-footed Sharapova never find her range, committing a remarkable 46 unforced errors.

“I played with a lot of patience today and wasn’t trying to attack her from the first ball,” said Dementieva, who will play the winner of the Serena Williams-Jelena Jankovic match. “I was very patient from the baseline, attack the short ball and put pressure on her forehand during important moments.”
Sharapova tried to push her tired legs to respond throughout the one hour and 45 minute contest, valiantly coming back from a 1-5 deficit in the first set and knocking back four set points. But she never served well, losing five of her 24 second serve points and couldn’t get her normally lethal return game going. Dementieva held to stop a four game losing streak to 6-5 and then broke Sharapova to win the set on an inside out forehand winner.

“She made me work for it,” Sharapova said. “ She played really well defensively. She hit a big, deep ball. I didn’t feel I was moving well enough to do something with it and she got me off the court. I was tried. As much as you try to get yourself going, there’s only so much you can force your body to do.”

Sharapova fell behind early in the second set and while she managed to power six winners on Dementieva’s first six match points, she couldn’t string together enough momentum. Dementieva won the contest when she pushed Sharapova into a forehand error.

“When you play for her you have to be ready to play until the end,” Dementieva said. “I have a lot of respect for her. She was fighting and believing she could turn it around. You have to play every ball against her. She doesn’t give you anything. She played so well on the match points, so I had to take risks and go forward.”

While Sharapova complained of being tired after nailing last week’s title in San Diego over Kim Clijsters and then winning her first three matches here, including a tough two-set win over Dinara Safina on Thursday night, the 24-year-old Dementieva actually played more tennis on Thursday, taking down Bethanie Mattek in three sets and then losing a late night doubles match with Flavia Pennetta.
“The doubles helped me because I was a little tired and didn’t go for too much,” she said. “I was doing the right thing today.

Dementieva is the best women's players on tour without a Slam, reaching the ’04 French and ’04 US Open finals. This year, sfter Sharapova crushed Dementieva in the Indian Wells final and then routined her at Wimbledon, Dementieva doubted her ability to push through her. But even though Sharapova was not completely on her game, Dementieva was charged up after the win, screaming in delight after the victory.
“This gives me a lot o confidence, it was very important to beat her in two sets of hard,” she said. “It’s a very big win for me. I have to continue to play well.”

Dementieva’s mother and coach, Vera, is on vacation and won’t re-join her daughter until the U.S. Open. So her 27-year-old brother, Vsevolod, who was a good junior, has subbed in as her tutor. Her boyfriend, Buffalo Sabre hockey star Maxim Afinogenov, is also here supporting her. But it's her brother who is talking tennis.

“He thinks [my success this week] is a big part of his help and he really helped me today,” she said. “He likes me to play defensively and I don’t, I like to go on the attack, so we have that discussion every time, but he liked the way I was playing today.”

Sharapova isn’t concerned how this will affect her chances at the Open, but she’ll get plenty of days off in between matches in New York.

“I haven’t played this many matches in a while,” said Sharapova. “Playing one tournament, having a day off, hitting the next day and then playing four matches in a row is tough.”

Sharapova appears doubtful for next week’s Tier I Roger’s Cup in Montreal.

“I’m going to talk to me team about,” she said. “Looking at it right now it doesn’t seem realistic, but I’m going to make sure I think about it well and see what we figure out.”

Pullouts have devastated Montreal as Amelie Mauresmo, Justine Henin–Hardenne, Mary Pierce and Patty Schnyder have already withdrawn. No notable American is playing the tournament. Kim Clijsters is the top seed.


All news
1 J.Jankovic 9200
2 S.Williams 7732
3 D.Safina 7554
4 E.Dementieva 7196
5 A.Ivanovic 6912
6 V.Williams 6544
7 V.Zvonareva 5754
8 S.Kuznetsova 5450
9 M.Sharapova 5030
10 A.Radwanska 4472
1 J.Jankovic 4786
2 D.Safina 3823
3 S.Williams 3681
4 E.Dementieva 3400
5 A.Ivanovic 3353
6 V.Zvonareva 2626
7 S.Kuznetsova 2623
8 V.Williams 2522
9 M.Sharapova 2515
10 A.Radwanska 2256


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