Anastasia Myskina Wins French Open
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: June 5, 2004
PARIS (AP) -- Anastasia Myskina became the first Russian woman to claim a Grand Slam title, taking advantage of shaky play by compatriot Elena Dementieva to win 6-1, 6-2 Saturday at the French Open.
With unspectacular but steady tennis, the No. 6-seeded Myskina capitalized on Dementieva's erratic performance, including 10 double-faults, to win in 59 minutes.
The match was the first all-Russian Grand Slam final and marked the first time in 30 years Russia had even one woman in the final of a major.
The No. 9-seeded Dementieva has long been plagued by an unreliable serve, especially in big matches, and that was the case again in her first major final. She lost her first four service games, and missed her final four serves -- for two more double-faults -- to give Myskina a 5-2 lead in the second set.
Myskina herself double-faulted to lose the opening game, then settled down and won the next eight games. She closed the victory when Dementieva sent a return long, and the two foes and friends since childhood embraced at the net.
``It's a Grand Slam. It's a French Open against my friend,'' Myskina said. ``It's too much going on for me right now.''
As a brass band played the Russian national anthem during the postmatch ceremony, tears welled in Myskina's eyes.
Dementieva's best moment came during the trophy presentation when she spoke in fluent French to the delight of the crowd.
``It was the dream of my life to win Roland Garros, and it's a shame that I lost today,'' she said. ``I hope to come back and win next year.''
Argentina also has two players in a Grand Slam final for the first time. No. 3-seeded Guillermo Vilas will play unseeded Gaston Gaudio on Sunday, with the winner becoming the first Argentine man to win a major title since Guillermo Vilas at the 1979 Australian Open.
Dementieva and Myskina were the first Russians to reach a women's Grand Slam final since Dementieva's coach, Olga Morozova, was the runner-up at Wimbledon in 1974.
With women's tennis on the rise in Russia in recent years, Myskina has been among the nation's most talented young players. Still, the 22-year-old Moscow native wasn't among the favorites in this year's French Open.
She arrived in Paris with a 1-4 lifetime record at Roland Garros but led a wave of upsets, beating Venus Williams and 2001 champion Jennifer Capriati en route to the title.
The weather for the final was perfect -- sunny and 75 degrees -- but the tennis less so, especially from Dementieva. The match was as lopsided and error-filled as the two sloppy semifinals, with 50 errors by the two finalists and just 23 winners.
In Dementieva's opening service game she double-faulted, hit an ace and double-faulted again on the first three points. She double-faulted for a third time on break point as the crowd groaned.
``I was very nervous,'' Dementieva said.
Myskina appeared relaxed as she settled into the match. But Dementieva struggled with awkward footwork -- a sign of nerves -- and was often out of position on shots. Twice she hit swinging volleys into the net.
By the end of the first set, Dementieva had 19 unforced errors, including five double-faults. Her best shot may have been a mis-hit lob that landed on the net cord and dropped at the feet of a surprised Myskina, who dumped her reply into the net.
In the second set, Dementieva held for the first time to trail 2-1, then held again to close to 3-2, but she couldn't keep it up.
Serving at 2-4, she double-faulted on the first point and angrily shouted at herself in Russian. The outburst didn't help, and she finished with 33 unforced errors and just 11 winners.
Myskina became only the third woman -- and the first in 42 years -- to win the French Open after saving a match point. She was one point from defeat in her fourth-round victory against Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Myskina earned $1.02 million and Dementieva $510,000.
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter....
Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there
Enjoy This Moment!!
HEALTH and HAPPINESS to EVERYONE