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tennisIlove09
Apr 14th, 2009, 09:02 PM
Dementieva still chasing that one elusive goal

by Matt Cronin, FOXSports.com
If Elena Dementieva makes it back to the French Open final this year, she won't be overcome by the nerves that hindered her in 2004 when she saw a familiar face across the net.
http://msn.foxsports.com/id/9455684_36_2.jpgElena Dementieva is hoping for another shot at the French Open title. (Al Bello / Getty Images)
"Anastasia (Myskina), my friend, is not playing anymore," Dementieva told FOXSports.com with a hearty laugh. "Seriously, if it comes to the final, I think I have the experience to handle it much better than I did before."

The world No. 3 — her best-ever ranking — is now 27 years old, 10 years into her career and with a much firmer grip on what it takes to win major events. Last summer, she achieved a lifelong goal — what she says was her most cherished dream — by winning the Olympic gold medal.

In Beijing she was well prepared, trusted her shots, didn't allow the negative thoughts of how she might lose enter her head. She outran Serena Williams, Vera Zvonareva and Dinara Safina to win the precious hardware. She had finally achieved something she had publicly declared she was capable of doing. The tireless groundstroker was no longer the WTA Tour's most discussed underachiever.

"The Olympics was such a special event and I was able to display all of my skills," she said. "I knew I had to get ready, prepare my game. I guess that's what I have to do at the Grand Slams because that's the biggest goal of my career now. I have to peak at one. No matter what."

The top seed at this week's Family Circle Cup in South Carolina, Dementieva has reached two major finals (the 2004 French and U.S. Opens) and the semifinals of the other two majors (the 2009 Australian Open and 2008 Wimbledon).

Given that she was brought up on clay, her Slam résumé shows an impressive arsenal that runs counter to the opinion that Dementieva can't be considered a great player due to a weak serve. Without a doubt, a soft, swerving side-armed serve all but ruined her chances against Myskina in Paris in a desultory 6-1, 6-2 loss, and against another Russian, Svetlana Kuznetsova, in a straight-set defeat in the 2004 U.S. Open final.

But she cured much of that problem in 2007, and she's developed a very respectable hard first serve down the T and a serviceable kick second serve. What has plagued Dementieva at the majors is that, deep in the tournaments, she's been unable to sustain the hard, relentless, deep groundstroking that got her there in the first place.

Dementieva came into her contest with Serena Williams in the Australian Open semifinals riding a 15-match winning streak, as well as a three-match run over the younger Williams. But she let Serena take it to her from the opening bell and couldn't dig herself into rallies. Dementieva lost the match, 6-3, 6-4.

"I have no regrets," Dementieva said. "People tell me if I didn't play Auckland or win Sydney, that I could have saved energy for Australia, but it's very difficult to predict. ... Serena was playing great and she knows how to improve her game going into the semifinals or finals of the Grand Slams. For me, I need to learn how to improve my level during the Grand Slams."

Even six weeks before the first ball is tossed in Paris, it's clear that the WTA has no dominant player. Serena has declared winning a second French Open title her top priority, but she has struggled there since 2003. Dinara Safina — who came back from two match points down to take down a gagging Dementieva at last year's Roland Garros — will rise to the top spot next week, this after losing early at Indian Wells and Miami when she could have seized the top spot rather than backing into it.

"It's not that we don't really have a dominant player right now, it's that the level of competition is getting much tougher," Dementieva said. "From 10 years ago, it increased a lot from first and second round matches with players from top 50 or top 100 being good. It's really hard to be on top and to keep the position for a long time. We are going to see a lot of different No. 1's this year."

Two women who reached No. 1 and lost it during the last year — Jelena Jankovic and reigning French Open champion Ana Ivanovic — have struggled. After a teeth-clenching first three months where she admitted she had lost all her confidence, Jankovic won her first title in Marbella last week. But Ivanovic has played only one decent tournament this year — Indian Wells, where she lost in the final.

Dementieva is very taken by No. 8 Azarenka, the teenager who stomped Serena and won Miami. She also propped No. 12 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, another teenager who won a title in Ponte Vedra Beach last week.

"Azarenka has been really impressive and Wozniacki has improved a lot since last year," she said. "Those are the two young players to keep an eye on."

Dementieva grew up on tour with the Williams sisters, whom she has had some choice words for in the past but whom she respects a great deal. That's why she's not counting America's twin pillars out of winning the French Open, even while many others feel that as they've aged, the surface has become too slippery for them to properly set up for their money shots.

"Serena has a pretty good chance and loves to play on clay," she said. "After hardcourts, I think clay is her favorite surface. For Venus, it's grass and hard courts, and she's never had great results on clay, but she's a great athlete and she can do it."

Dementieva may have been better off taking a substantial break after Australia because at Indian Wells and Miami, she admitted she was mentally exhausted and lost early. But she says she has her energy back now and has the next major dead in her sights.

The next five weeks will all be about putting in the work, honing her shots and making sure that when she lands at Charles De Gaulle Airport, she's clear in her head and has a spring in her step.

"I love to play on clay courts, but it's a different experience when it comes to Grand Slams," she said. "You have to be really fit and no matter how fit you are, you need a little bit of luck, because during two weeks, anything can happen to you."

Dementieva believes she can avenge her 2004 performance this year; she's shown herself in reaching the last three final fours that she knows how to negotiate the tricky first weeks. Now, it's about proving she can lay down her best cards when it's only the other favorites left sitting at the table. "To win a Slam and become No. 1 have always been goals in my mind, and those are still my motivation," Dementieva said. "As long as I have the confidence, I can do well at the French, but I have to find my confidence first."

Craig.
Apr 14th, 2009, 09:03 PM
2009 Wimbledon Champ :inlove:

CloudAtlas
Apr 14th, 2009, 09:13 PM
That makes me want her to win now. But seriously...if she were to win RG this year it'd be so poignant.

TomTennis
Apr 14th, 2009, 09:18 PM
Venus is constantly underated on clay I feel.
Out of the current active players, she has achieved most on the surface.

TomTennis
Apr 14th, 2009, 09:19 PM
Anyway, back to the matter in hand, I think Elena will need a really cushy draw to ever win a slam. She's a great all round athlete, but luck needs to be on her side, and other players need to perfrom sub-par.

iGOAT
Apr 14th, 2009, 09:21 PM
Oh I hope so! I really do :sad:

serenus_2k8
Apr 14th, 2009, 09:22 PM
I agree, Venus is hugely underrated on clay. I was just thinking that before after watching her destroy Flavia. I cant see Elena winning, though I would like to see her do some damage.

tennisIlove09
Apr 14th, 2009, 09:23 PM
Venus is constantly underated on clay I feel.
Out of the current active players, she has achieved most on the surface.
The only major clay title missing from V's career is the French. She has so many more clay titles than Serena, Ana, Dementieva, Safina. She really has always just under performed at the French. And if she hadn't played one of the worst serving matches of her career, she would have at least one French Open. But that final against Serena, her serve was the worst, maybe ever.

Pristine
Apr 14th, 2009, 09:31 PM
I agree, Venus is hugely underrated on clay. I was just thinking that before after watching her destroy Flavia. I cant see Elena winning, though I would like to see her do some damage.

She's not really underrated. For Venus to win on clay, she basically plays the same game as any other surface which is naturally high risk. Venus Williams hitting her peak on clay and holding it for seven straight matches in Paris is not impossible, but unlikely due to what it takes out of her to hold that. Yes, what she did against Flavia was beyond good but if you look at the actual performance that wasn't clay court tennis and that's what ends up hurting her in the end. Few people can withstand Venus Williams' peak hitting on any surface and that is what happened to Flavia, but the likelihood of Venus holding that form is very slim. Hence, no RG title. She needs to be able to play more margin and save that for the latter rounds like a Sampras or a Serena.

starin
Apr 14th, 2009, 09:32 PM
you would think Clay would be her best surface considering her serve liabilities and how great a returner and mover she is but her results on the surface are mixed

simonsaystennis
Apr 14th, 2009, 09:33 PM
Nice article. If Serena, Venus, Maria, Jelena D., or Vika doesn't win the French, then I hope that Elena does. She seems like a nice, respectful, hard-working player. I would like to see her win a Slam before the end of her career. :)

Pristine
Apr 14th, 2009, 09:37 PM
you would think Clay would be her best surface considering her serve liabilities and how great a returner and mover she is but her results on the surface are mixed

Dementieva's grip on the forehand hits a bit too flat. If she could get slightly more spin and height she would be a true force on clay.

jjcrew#1
Apr 14th, 2009, 10:09 PM
If there was one player besides Jelena who i would love to see win the French it would be Elena D. I think she has the game to do it she just kind of crumbles in the later part of the grand slams like in 2004 and if she could overcome that it would be awesome for her to achieve it! it would be a nightmare for me if it was Jelena vs. Elena in the final for me :eek:

SIN DIOS NI LEY
Apr 14th, 2009, 11:07 PM
Interesting article . Thanks

Dodoboy.
Apr 14th, 2009, 11:17 PM
I would love her in the final!

Obviously would prefer 2 other players there, but if they have to beat her for the title :yeah:

frenchie
Apr 14th, 2009, 11:23 PM
"Anastasia (Myskina), my friend, is not playing anymore," Dementieva told FOXSports.com with a hearty laugh. "Seriously, if it comes to the final, I think I have the experience to handle it much better than I did before."

Thank you for the reminder Elena:sad:

Uranium
Apr 14th, 2009, 11:46 PM
I agree with people saying Venus is underrated on clay.
Venus has more clay titles than everyone on tour right now and when you take away Justine's RG titles, she has the same amount of clay titles as her too. Venus has more than Serena, Clijsters, Mauresmo, Hingis and others who actually won RG.

Craig.
Apr 14th, 2009, 11:46 PM
Well, she's playing like a slam champion right now :hearts:

Josh.
Apr 15th, 2009, 12:02 AM
Elena :hug:

hankqq
Apr 15th, 2009, 12:17 AM
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think Dementieva's best chances of winning a major are at the USO, not RG. Besides 2004, when she reached the RG final, last year was the only other time she reached the quarters. Additionally, she has yet to win a big clay event. So far Dementieva has won Amelia Island and Istanbul, and she was a finalist in Charleston and Berlin. :shrug: Contrast this to her hardcourt results in the US, where she has either won or reached the final of the important hardcourt events (won LA and was finalist at USO, Miami, IW etc...) Her US hardcourt record is much stronger than her clay record.

I do think her chances of winning RG are increased since there is no longer a dominant clay court player, but I think she's more likely to win a USO, where she has reached the semis a bunch of times, and 1 final. :shrug:

DragonFlame
Apr 15th, 2009, 12:18 AM
Nice article!:)

Go for it lena, Go for it! Show the stuff, now´s the time.

Aravanecaravan
Apr 15th, 2009, 12:21 AM
I thought this thread was going to be about Elena chasing after Miffedmax....?

Pristine
Apr 15th, 2009, 12:22 AM
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think Dementieva's best chances of winning a major are at the USO, not RG. Besides 2004, when she reached the RG final, last year was the only other time she reached the quarters. Additionally, she has yet to win a big clay event. So far Dementieva has won Amelia Island and Istanbul, and she was a finalist in Charleston and Berlin. :shrug: Contrast this to her hardcourt results in the US, where she has either won or reached the final of the important hardcourt events (won LA and was finalist at USO, Miami, IW etc...) Her US hardcourt record is much stronger than her clay record.

I do think her chances of winning RG are increased since there is no longer a dominant clay court player, but I think she's more likely to win a USO :shrug:

You have a point, BUT her chances of winning the USO are deflated by the fact that nearly everyone can play on hardcourts these days. And if everyone is playing well, Dementieva won't be the last woman standing. Yes, Dementieva is a good hardcourt player but everyone in the Top 10 posts great hardcourt results. She has more of a chance at RG, imo.

Edinboro
Apr 15th, 2009, 12:35 AM
Elena please win it!

BuTtErFrEnA
Apr 15th, 2009, 12:37 AM
I agree with people saying Venus is underrated on clay.
Venus has more clay titles than everyone on tour right now and when you take away Justine's RG titles, she has the same amount of clay titles as her too. Venus has more than Serena, Clijsters, Mauresmo, Hingis and others who actually won RG.

that's some pretty big titles to take away from people to make them equal on a surface...if you take away some of venus' wimbledon titles maria has the same amount of titles on grass as well...
:weirdo:

but anyways...as elena says, her major problem has always been reigning in her game when it's time to...and unfortunately she's never been in a position where her opponent has played horrid enough for her to profit from them in a SF/F...her best chance was last year cause i can kuzzy choking to anyone in a sf :o

but it will be interesting to see how she does come RG...if she finally put it together she'd have a great shot but i think her best bet might be to have one of her bitches in a SF :lol:

Pristine
Apr 15th, 2009, 12:41 AM
that's some pretty big titles to take away from people to make them equal on a surface...if you take away some of venus' wimbledon titles maria has the same amount of titles on grass as well...
:weirdo:

but anyways...as elena says, her major problem has always been reigning in her game when it's time to...and unfortunately she's never been in a position where her opponent has played horrid enough for her to profit from them in a SF/F...her best chance was last year cause i can kuzzy choking to anyone in a sf :o

but it will be interesting to see how she does come RG...if she finally put it together she'd have a great shot but i think her best bet might be to have one of her bitches in a SF :lol:

I partially agree. That's a looser argument of saying someone like Davenport is greater than what they actually are. Outside of more slams, Davenport did it all.

What is presented is a eerie similar. You earn what you win.

Uranium
Apr 15th, 2009, 12:42 AM
that's some pretty big titles to take away from people to make them equal on a surface...if you take away some of venus' wimbledon titles maria has the same amount of titles on grass as well...
:weirdo:

My point was that outside of RG, Venus and Justine have the same amount of clay titles. Obviously, Justine is the better clay courter having dominated RG, but that wasn't the point I was making. My point was that outside of RG, her and Justine had won the same amount of clay events, which IMO says something considering people think Venus sucks on clay.

doujyr
Apr 15th, 2009, 12:44 AM
Don't understand why she says she was tired for IW and Miami when she had nearly 3 weeks off betweeen Dubai and IW, but suddenly she's ok for Charleston having only had another week off after Miami.

PS Is it impossible to have any thread on here that doesn't turn into a debate about V or S?

Pristine
Apr 15th, 2009, 12:46 AM
My point was that outside of RG, Venus and Justine have the same amount of clay titles. Obviously, Justine is the better clay courter having dominated RG, but that wasn't the point I was making. My point was that outside of RG, her and Justine had won the same amount of clay events, which IMO says something considering people think Venus sucks on clay.

Venus doesn't suck on clay. Her problem is that she plays the same game everywhere and that same game on clay requires a very high standard which for her to win RG would mean keeping it for seven matches. Something up until current day, she has still proved unable to do. She needs that extra margin in her game to allow her to peak later in slams instead of trying to be full blast from the first round.

Venus doesn't suck on clay. She is more vulnerable on clay. Davenport as recently as Miami has discussed it and now Dementieva and I'm sure several other people have the same feeling. I think it is time to come to terms with reality.

Right now the tour's rankings have become more or less a measure of who can win THE MOST by playing the WORST. When Safina gets down MPs especially on clay she becomes frustratingly hard to put away with those heavy topspin groundies and sheer refusal to go away. Serena has made a living of winning while not at her best. Venus, on clay, can't seem to put away quality opposition if she isn't near or at her top gear. If the stars align and she cleanly hits her way through seven opponents, on power alone she can compete with anyone in Paris.

Uranium
Apr 15th, 2009, 12:47 AM
You have a point, BUT her chances of winning the USO are deflated by the fact that nearly everyone can play on hardcourts these days. And if everyone is playing well, Dementieva won't be the last woman standing. Yes, Dementieva is a good hardcourt player but everyone in the Top 10 posts great hardcourt results. She has more of a chance at RG, imo.

I agree with this;)

Pristine
Apr 15th, 2009, 01:00 AM
I agree with this;)

Thank you.

AnnaK_4ever
Apr 15th, 2009, 01:48 AM
My point was that outside of RG, Venus and Justine have the same amount of clay titles. Obviously, Justine is the better clay courter having dominated RG, but that wasn't the point I was making. My point was that outside of RG, her and Justine had won the same amount of clay events, which IMO says something considering people think Venus sucks on clay.

Venus won her only big red clay court titles in 1999, that's ten years ago. No wonder some people tend to think she sucks on clay.

P.S.
No, I don't think that 2001 Hamburg and 2004 Warsaw were big wins as she didn't face a single top-tenner at those events.

miffedmax
Apr 15th, 2009, 02:06 AM
Lena. Just one slam.

But :hearts: even if you don't.

doujyr
Apr 15th, 2009, 11:04 AM
What an incredible thread.

Entitled "Elena Dementieva" and within 4 posts has become a debate obout Venus Williams and RG.

Think this place needs an S and V free zone. I've nothing against them but the way the fans on here hijack so many threads and turn it into a debate about them is really irritating.

hwanmig
Apr 15th, 2009, 01:46 PM
Elena will be thanking the crowd in French after her win:angel:

frenchie
Apr 15th, 2009, 01:49 PM
Venus won her only big red clay court titles in 1999, that's ten years ago. No wonder some people tend to think she sucks on clay.

P.S.
No, I don't think that 2001 Hamburg and 2004 Warsaw were big wins as she didn't face a single top-tenner at those events.

I know it's green clay but Venus won Charleston in 2004
She's very capable on clay;)

Uranium
Apr 15th, 2009, 01:51 PM
Lena. Just one slam.

But :hearts: even if you don't.

Her winning a slam and doing it with bangs, what a great sight that would be:hearts:;)

AnnaK_4ever
Apr 15th, 2009, 01:56 PM
I know it's green clay but Venus won Charleston in 2004

didn't face a top-10 player either.

She's very capable on clay;)

Agreed.

miffedmax
Apr 15th, 2009, 02:10 PM
Her winning a slam and doing it with bangs, what a great sight that would be:hearts:;)

:angel: If that happens I will have officially died and gone to heaven :angel:

jjcrew#1
Apr 15th, 2009, 02:22 PM
What an incredible thread.

Entitled "Elena Dementieva" and within 4 posts has become a debate obout Venus Williams and RG.

Think this place needs an S and V free zone. I've nothing against them but the way the fans on here hijack so many threads and turn it into a debate about them is really irritating.

Thank you! :worship:

tennnisfannn
Apr 15th, 2009, 02:25 PM
Don't understand why she says she was tired for IW and Miami when she had nearly 3 weeks off betweeen Dubai and IW, but suddenly she's ok for Charleston having only had another week off after Miami.

PS Is it impossible to have any thread on here that doesn't turn into a debate about V or S?
It is that dreaded new disease that has just hit the market, it is called sports fatigue syndrome!

LCS
Apr 15th, 2009, 02:30 PM
:worship:

Vlover
Apr 15th, 2009, 03:32 PM
What an incredible thread.

Entitled "Elena Dementieva" and within 4 posts has become a debate obout Venus Williams and RG.

Think this place needs an S and V free zone. I've nothing against them but the way the fans on here hijack so many threads and turn it into a debate about them is really irritating.
The article mentioned Venus and Serena therefore the poster was commenting on what Dementieva said in the article.:rolleyes:

If you want a Venus and Serena free zone you are obviously in the wrong place,:tape: so move along.

tonythetiger
Apr 15th, 2009, 04:59 PM
Yeah, let them keep underestimating Venus on clay. I would love it if she flew under the radar again just to end up with the trophy.

I'm still made at Elena for suggesting that the Williams fix their matches.:fiery::mad:

serenus_2k8
Apr 15th, 2009, 05:06 PM
Its not the fans fault that V & S are usually the only players worth discussing :shrug: I would like Elena to get a slam, but only if Venus, Serena, Ana and Sveta all crash early :p

miffedmax
Apr 15th, 2009, 06:12 PM
Yeah, and if you go into all the threads about Serena and Venus where I've managed to bring in Lena's bangs, we're probably even anyway.

serenus_2k8
Apr 15th, 2009, 06:16 PM
:sobbing: You should be so proud :sobbing: