Dementieva sets up Venus tie
17 hours ago
World number 11 Elena Dementieva set up a JB Group Classic semi-final meeting with Wimbledon champion Venus Williams by beating Ana Ivanovic 6-4 1-6 6-3 on Thursday.
In the most entertaining match of the tournament, Dementieva grabbed the solitary break in the first set and, despite letting the French Open finalist back into the contest, she finally sealed victory in one hour and 44 minutes.
Williams earlier began her preparations for the Australian Open with a comprehensive 6-1 6-2 victory over China's number two Peng Shuai.
"I am pleased," Kremlin Cup champion Dementieva said. "It was a tough first match of the year as we both played well.
"It was a physical game with lots of long rallies and I am satisfied with the way that I played.
"I haven't seen Venus play yet but I am sure she will be in good shape and it will be a tough match."
Dementieva crucially claimed the first break of the match in the third game to open up a 2-1 lead before wrapping up the first set in 39 minutes against an out of sorts world number four Ivanovic.
But in the second set the Wimbledon semi-finalist improved and was able to dispatch several unstoppable groundstrokes on both sides of her Russian opponent.
The duo traded breaks in the opening four games of the third set, but a break of the Ivanovic serve in the sixth game proved crucial as Dementieva sealed the semi-final berth by holding serve.
"It was a tough match," said Ivanovic. "I had my chances in the third set and I didn't take them but it was the first match of the year."