View Full Version : Analyze this: Dementieva is a champ

Apr 22nd, 2003, 07:35 AM
Analyze this: Dementieva is a champ
By Gene Frenette
April 21 2003
The Florida Times Union

AMELIA ISLAND -- It's not exactly a subject Elena Dementieva enjoys talking about, but it's one of those unavoidable comparisons that never seems to go away.

She often gets Anna-lyzed because the 21-year-old Moscow native happens to be a blue-eyed, blonde with model looks. And who also makes a good living smacking around a tennis ball.

Only Dementieva doesn't have the paparazzi and hundreds of Web sites dedicated to following her every move for awestruck young males, not to mention romantic links with NHL players and other celebrities.

In this case, appearances are very deceiving. Any resemblance between Dementieva and Kournikova is strictly on the surface. And by surface, I don't mean their tennis court of preference.

"We're two different persons," said Demetieva. "She's almost American. I'm still Russian. That's the big difference."

Actually, there's plenty of other differences, which now include Dementieva removing the big omission on her tennis resume yesterday by rallying to defeat Lindsay Davenport 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to win the Bausch & Lomb Championships. It was Dementieva's first WTA title after nearly five years as a touring pro, a distinction that still eludes her slumping fellow countrywoman.

Judging by her performance this week at Ameila Island, she's separating herself from Kournikova in other ways too. Dementieva has overcome the same hurdles -- injuries, expectations, lost confidence -- that are now driving Kournikova off the tennis radar screen.

You may recall that Dementieva made her breakthrough with a semifinal appearance at the 2000 U.S. Open and being the Olympic silver medalist, while Kournikova was a Wimbledon semifinalist three years earlier. And when both Russians finally got that elusive Top 10 world ranking, they were set back by injuries in 2001, though Kournikova's foot problems were more serious and long-lasting.

Dementieva and Kournikova have experienced the pain of hitting that career wall, wondering if they're ever going to lift their games up into that elite class. There's not much doubt about who's making better progress.

After beating three top-10 players (Daniela Hantuchova, Justine Henin-Hardenne and Davenport) in three days, Dementieva's ranking will climb back into the top 15 from No. 21. Kournikova's ranking has plummeted to No. 67, having lost in the first round in 16 of her last 29 tournaments.

"It was very difficult to play with all kind of pressure put on me after the Olympic Games and the [2000] U.S. Open," said Dementieva. "I didn't understand what I did. It was so fast. I was top 10 and I didn't understand the position I was in. I just completely lost my game."

Yesterday, despite a weak second serve and facing a one-set, 2-4 deficit, Dementieva found her game just in time to win that first title. She matched Davenport winner for winner before the No. 2 seed became too fatigued to keep pace in the third set.

Dementieva broke into a big smile as she raised the Waterford crystal trophy aloft, never bothering to remove her Yonnex cap. That wasn't just to appease Dementieva's sponsor, but to help her maintain as low a profile as possible.

"I don't like notoriety," said Dementieva. "That's why I always wear the hat. Off the court, I don't want people recognizing me."

In more ways than one, she's certainly no Anna.

Apr 22nd, 2003, 08:02 AM
Elena , well said !! :)

Apr 22nd, 2003, 09:22 AM
thanx for the report :)

go Alyona !!!!!

Apr 22nd, 2003, 09:38 AM
Thanks for it!
Yes,'she's certainly no Anna.'

Apr 22nd, 2003, 11:38 AM

Apr 22nd, 2003, 01:18 PM
she is so well spoken .. i am so impressed with my baby girl!!!!!
i love u alyona