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bubble
Oct 2nd, 2003, 04:09 PM
Dementieva back from the doldrums

BBC Sport website's player of the month
By Caroline Cheese

Elena Dementieva's 2003 revival has ensured that the 21-year-old has avoided the fate of Anna Kournikova.

Before this year, Dementieva's career had been following a strikingly similar route to that of her fellow Russian.

Like Kournikova, she burst onto the scene as a teenager by reaching the semi-finals of a Grand Slam, broke into the top 10 without winning a title and then almost as suddenly plateaued.

But while Dementieva still has long blonde hair in common with Kournikova, the similarities end there. Elena Dementieva's 2003 revival has ensured that the 21-year-old has avoided the fate of Anna Kournikova.

Before this year, Dementieva's career had been following a strikingly similar route to that of her fellow Russian.

Like Kournikova, she burst onto the scene as a teenager by reaching the semi-finals of a Grand Slam, broke into the top 10 without winning a title and then almost as suddenly plateaued.

But while Dementieva still has long blonde hair in common with Kournikova, the similarities end there.

This year has seen Kournikova relegated to a part-time doubles player, while Dementieva is back in the world's top 10 and in the running for a berth at the end-of-season championships in Los Angeles.

It is a dramatic, and welcome, turnaround in fortunes for the likeable Moscovite.

In 2000, Dementieva was the first of many to be tagged the "new Anna", following a year in which she won a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics and reached the last four at the US Open.

When I first got to the top ten, I was 19 years old and it all happened too fast

Elena Dementieva
Ranked in the top 10 at the age of 19 and talked of in glowing terms by experts, Dementieva admits she was overwhelmed.

"I was saying to my mum recently that when I first got to the top ten, I was 19-years-old and I didn't really understand how big that was," she said recently.

"It all happened too fast and I didn't enjoy it."

The following season was one of consolidation and she finished inside the top 15 for the second straight year but when Dementieva failed to kick on in 2002, there were fears that her career was already on the wane.

The wealth of younger Russians flooding the sport that same year and grabbing the headlines meant her gradual demise was hardly noticed.

But Dementieva was not quite ready to fade quietly into the ranks of the also-rans.

DEMENTIEVA FACTS
Has a vast cactus collection in Moscow
Was named Russia's Female of the Year in 2001
Has a Yorkshire terrier named Patrick
Coached by Sergey Pashkov
She chose a quality field at Amelia Island to announce her return to her best form, beating Justine Henin-Hardenne and Lindsay Davenport on her way to the tier one title.

And in September, having reached the fourth round of the US Open, she set off for the Far East in confident mood.

Dementieva on Bali high
Seeded second in Bali, she cruised into the final before thrashing top seed Chanda Rubin 6-2 6-1.

That win sealed her return to the top ten, and a career-high ranking of eighth.

Not content with that, Dementieva headed to Shanghai and, having beaten 16-year-old compatriot Maria Sharapova in the last eight, she again saw off Rubin in straight sets to lift the trophy.

The self-belief has inevitably flooded back.

"When I went to Bali I had this feeling I could win the tournament, and I never would have had that feeling if I hadn't won Amelia Island," she said.

"Because I knew what it was like to win a title, I knew I could do it again. It's okay to get to semi-finals and finals, but it's a different feeling to actually win the title.

"Now I believe I should win these tournaments and be a top ten player."

Her next target is to lift the Kremlin Cup in front of her hometown crowd in Moscow this


This year has seen Kournikova relegated to a part-time doubles player, while Dementieva is back in the world's top 10 and in the running for a berth at the end-of-season championships in Los Angeles.

It is a dramatic, and welcome, turnaround in fortunes for the likeable Moscovite.

In 2000, Dementieva was the first of many to be tagged the "new Anna", following a year in which she won a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics and reached the last four at the US Open.

When I first got to the top ten, I was 19 years old and it all happened too fast

Elena Dementieva
Ranked in the top 10 at the age of 19 and talked of in glowing terms by experts, Dementieva admits she was overwhelmed.

"I was saying to my mum recently that when I first got to the top ten, I was 19-years-old and I didn't really understand how big that was," she said recently.

"It all happened too fast and I didn't enjoy it."

The following season was one of consolidation and she finished inside the top 15 for the second straight year but when Dementieva failed to kick on in 2002, there were fears that her career was already on the wane.

The wealth of younger Russians flooding the sport that same year and grabbing the headlines meant her gradual demise was hardly noticed.

But Dementieva was not quite ready to fade quietly into the ranks of the also-rans.

DEMENTIEVA FACTS
Has a vast cactus collection in Moscow
Was named Russia's Female of the Year in 2001
Has a Yorkshire terrier named Patrick
Coached by Sergey Pashkov
She chose a quality field at Amelia Island to announce her return to her best form, beating Justine Henin-Hardenne and Lindsay Davenport on her way to the tier one title.

And in September, having reached the fourth round of the US Open, she set off for the Far East in confident mood.

Dementieva on Bali high
Seeded second in Bali, she cruised into the final before thrashing top seed Chanda Rubin 6-2 6-1.

That win sealed her return to the top ten, and a career-high ranking of eighth.

Two in a row for Dementieva
Not content with that, Dementieva headed to Shanghai and, having beaten 16-year-old compatriot Maria Sharapova in the last eight, she again saw off Rubin in straight sets to lift the trophy.

The self-belief has inevitably flooded back.

"When I went to Bali I had this feeling I could win the tournament, and I never would have had that feeling if I hadn't won Amelia Island," she said.

"Because I knew what it was like to win a title, I knew I could do it again. It's okay to get to semi-finals and finals, but it's a different feeling to actually win the title.

"Now I believe I should win these tournaments and be a top ten player."

Her next target is to lift the Kremlin Cup in front of her hometown crowd in Moscow this week.


:worship: :yeah: :kiss:

AKTW
Oct 2nd, 2003, 04:37 PM
Go Alyona go! :) :worship:
Win your 4th title in your hometown!
You can do it!! :D

Mark Spruce
Oct 2nd, 2003, 05:12 PM
WELL DONE ELENA

YOU DESERVE IT

WELL DONE GIRL !!!

regards

Mark

KV
Oct 2nd, 2003, 06:14 PM
Congratulations

Daniel
Oct 2nd, 2003, 06:18 PM
Congrats Elena :)

ghosts
Oct 2nd, 2003, 06:32 PM
http://www.imagemagician.com/images/gig/gif3/heart1.gif

Hurley
Oct 2nd, 2003, 06:33 PM
"Caroline Cheese"? :D

DEETHELICK
Oct 2nd, 2003, 07:19 PM
It really has been a comeback for Elena, 2 Tier IIs and a Tier III title in ONE season, with back to back titles, a return to the top ten, a career high ranking (and maybe even higher) and Russian No. 1.

Elena deserves it all and I hope she lifts the Moscow crown as that would really be the icing on the cake! :)

Jakub
Oct 3rd, 2003, 09:22 PM
:hearts:
congrats Alyona :kiss:

gmak
Oct 3rd, 2003, 09:26 PM
alyona :hearts: :smooch: :hug: :banana: