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tennisIlove09
Apr 21st, 2003, 01:12 AM
Dementieva outlasts Davenport for first title

By EDDIE PELLS, AP Sports Writer
April 20, 2003

AP - Apr 19, 2:52 EDT
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AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (AP) -- They're both 21-year-old Russians. Still, Elena Dementieva said she's never had much in common with Anna Kournikova ``because she lives in Miami and I live in Moscow.''

Now there's another difference.

Dementieva broke through to finally win a WTA Tour title -- something that still eludes her more famous countrywoman -- by defeating Lindsay Davenport 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 at the Bausch & Lomb Championships Sunday.

``Maybe we'll go somewhere to celebrate,'' Dementieva said. ``It's going to be a big celebration in Moscow.''

Dementieva won a crystal bowl and $93,000 to go along with her first championship -- all well earned after a 2-hour, 6-minute struggle against the second-seeded Davenport who was, by her own estimation, playing some of the best tennis of her career.

After the last point, the 10th-seeded Dementieva pumped her fists, covered her mouth and shrugged her shoulders -- yeah, she finally did it. Her mom, Vera, lifted her hands to applaud her daughter's first victory in five finals appearances, including the 2000 Olympics.

``It feels amazing, like a dream come true,'' Dementieva said. ``I've been waiting for this moment all my life. It's been a very difficult two years.''


At about the same time Kournikova's career was peaking, Dementieva made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Open in 2000. A year later, she worked her way into the top 10.

But like Kournikova, Dementieva's game dropped off. She endured foot injuries, fell in the rankings and lost the aggressiveness that defined her first few years as a pro.

``I didn't understand what I did, or how I did it, so fast,'' Dementieva said. ``I completely lost my game, couldn't get any better. It was a very tough time for me.''

Midway through Sunday's second set, it looked like the long-awaited first title would remain out of reach.

Fighting nerves and a serve that often dropped in at under 85 mph, Dementieva squealed in frustration, yelled at herself in Russian and looked over to her mother after a series of close line calls went against her.

Leading by a set and 4-2 in the second, Davenport appeared on her way to a 39th career title. Then, Dementieva started hitting out on her serves, and dialing in on her groundstrokes.

She won a game that lasted five deuces to go ahead 5-4 in the second set, using a forehand winner down the line to put it away. Davenport appeared to tire after that. Even though she kept her serves coming in at over 100 mph, she failed to hold in any of her last five service games.

``All of the sudden, it seemed like whatever she was hitting was coming a lot harder,'' Davenport said. ``She started going for it more. There wasn't much I could do. She was swinging at will and hitting winners with her eyes closed.''

Dementieva came into this tournament ranked 21st and will move into the top 15 Monday. This is, by far, her sweetest result. She needed to prove she could close out a title 10 months after she blew a 3-1 third-set lead in the final of a grass-court event in the Netherlands.

``There were moments in my life where it started to feel like I'm not going to win this title,'' she said. ``I'm glad it came true in this situation, and finally I did it.''

And nobody can say she cruised through an easy draw.

Dementieva defeated fourth-seeded Daniela Hantuchova, top-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne and finally, Davenport -- about as impressive a lineup of victories a player could hope for in a tournament that neither of the Williams sisters entered.

``I was unaware she hadn't won one,'' Davenport said. ``But with the player she beat today, that's a great first tournament win to get under her belt.''

~ The Leopard ~
Apr 21st, 2003, 01:42 AM
lol at Lindsay.

Good article.

auntie janie
Apr 21st, 2003, 02:09 AM
Thanks a million, tennisIlove09! I've been waiting for quotes!! :kiss:

Nice article. :)

katrientje
Apr 21st, 2003, 07:18 AM
I am so happy for Elena. She seems to be a sweet girl. I am glad things are finally coming together for her!

Jakub
Apr 21st, 2003, 08:17 AM
:) thanks tennisIlove09

bilbo
Apr 21st, 2003, 08:52 AM
Congratulations to
Elena Dementiava
:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

BasicTennis
Apr 21st, 2003, 09:12 AM
well done Elena!!!! hope Anna would be inspired with this win and finally win a title for herself as well.:bounce::worship: :angel:

kfh_9118
Apr 21st, 2003, 09:54 AM
Congrats Elena :bounce: :bounce: Finally you got a title now :D

doloresc
Apr 21st, 2003, 11:32 AM
thank you for the article. i'm always so happy for first time winners. congratulations to dementieva on an impressive run at amelia island! :)

bis2806
Apr 21st, 2003, 01:17 PM
congrats elena....
but lindsay :fiery: :sad: :sad: :sad:

¤CharlDa¤
Apr 21st, 2003, 03:56 PM
Really deserved win! Congrats Elena!

empiremaker03
Apr 21st, 2003, 06:06 PM
what a great match to watch...Elena played soooooo well and happy to see her win that first tour title

RAA
Apr 21st, 2003, 08:39 PM
congrats to elena. I have seen her play a few times and just could not figure out, with her talent and groundies, why she sort of stalled out. would be nice if this was the start of a trend for her.

[as for me, I still can't get over the fact that Jen cap lost to Davenport on clay... no offense to lindsay girl, but ... ]

CJ07
Apr 21st, 2003, 08:59 PM
good job kid

Hendouble
Apr 21st, 2003, 09:07 PM
Intriguing quote from Davenport, seemingly rather boastful about her own calibre - which is not to say it's untrue, just an unusual thing for her to say. And let's face it, Dementieva is hardly unique in terms of being able to unseat Davenport in a tournament final since her comeback last year; apart from Clijsters' two smooth walk-overs this year, she has also succumbed to Rubin, Maleeva and Schnyder, every time from a set up and a position of victory.

Indeed, she served for the match against Rubin and had matchpoint versus Schnyder; the fact that her and Maleeva had the support of the crowd and Lindsay's "nice" personality may have something to do with her being unable to close out the match, but it was mostly physical superiority and guts that won Dementieva the match yesterday. She was very fortunate to save another breakpoint against her before being the first person to hold serve in the final set to go up 4-3, and from then on Davenport simply wilted in the heat.

Messenger
Apr 21st, 2003, 09:49 PM
Anna got the short stick. Moscow is 100 times better than Miami.

:)