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Elena Vyacheslavovna Dementieva (born October 15, 1981, Moscow), better known as Elena Dementieva, is a professional tennis player from Russia.
Dementieva played and won her first international tournament, Les Petit As, in France at the age of 13. In 1997, she entered the WTA top 500. She turned professional in 1998 and entered the top 100 in 1999.
In 1999, Dementieva represented Russia in the Fed Cup final against the United States, scoring Russia's only point when she upset Venus Williams. She played her first Grand Slam main draws, qualifying for the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon and receiving a direct entry into the U.S. Open. She reached the second round at the Australian Open and French Open, made a first round exit at Wimbledon, and reached the third round of the U.S. Open.
In 2000, she entered the top 20 by winning more than 40 singles matches for the second straight year and earned more than U.S. $600,000. She became the first woman from Russia to reach a U.S. Open semifinal, where she lost to Lindsay Davenport. At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Dementieva won the silver medal, losing to Venus Williams in the gold medal match 6-2, 6-4. In 2000, Dementieva was named the WTA tour's Most Improved Player.
2001 was the second straight year in which Dementieva finished in the WTA's top 20. During the year. she became the top ranked Russian player, a position previously held by Anna Kournikova since December 1997.
In 2002, Dementieva and her partner Janette Husarova of Slovakia reached the final of the U.S. Open and won the year-ending WTA Tour Championships. In singles, Dementieva defeated world No. 1 Martina Hingis 6-2, 6-2 in a quarterfinal in Moscow.
In 2003, Dementieva played the most tournaments among top ten players (27) and won approximately U.S. $900,000 in prize money. At Amelia Island, she won her first WTA tour title, defeating Amanda Coetzer, Daniela Hantuchová, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and second ranked Davenport. Dementieva was the lowest seed (10th) to win the tournament in its 24-year history. She also won back-to-back titles in Bali and Shanghai, defeating Chanda Rubin in the final in both events. Dementiva finished 2003 in the top 10 for the first time. In addition, she reached the semifinals of the Wimbledon doubles with her friend and compatriot Lina Krasnoroutskaya, beating the Venus and Serena Williams team along the way.
Also in 2003, Dementieva suffered a shoulder injury in Australia. To keep playing matches, she altered her serve, adding slice and changing her motion. After her shoulder healed, her service motion stayed the same, and it has generally been considered the worst serve on tour. She has double faulted as many as 19 times in a match and often hits 50 mph first and second serves.
Yet, Dementieva had a breakthrough year in 2004. At Miami she eliminated former top ranked Venus Williams in a quarterfinal and Nadia Petrova in a semifinal. Dementieva then lost to the former top ranked, top seeded, and two-time defending champion Serena Williams 6-1, 6-1. On April 5, she reached her highest singles ranking at sixth in the world. With fifth ranked Anastasia Myskina and ninth ranked Petrova, it was the first time that three Russians appeared in the WTA top 10 simultaneously. In May at the French Open, Dementieva reached her first Grand Slam final, defeating former top ranked Davenport in straight sets along the way. Dementieva lost to compatriot Myskina in the first all-Russian Grand Slam final. (The last female Russian Grand Slam finalist was Dementieva's coach at the time, Olga Morozova, at 1974's French Open and Wimbledon.) Later that year at the U.S. Open, Dementieva reached her second Grand Slam final, defeating Jennifer Capriati and Amélie Mauresmo en route. Countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Dementieva in straight sets in the final, becoming the third consecutive Russian Grand Slam winner. Following the U.S. Open, Dementieva won her first title in Hasselt.
2005 was mostly quiet for Dementieva. She lost two singles finals and reached the fourth round at the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon. Dementieva reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open, defeating world No. 1 Davenport 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 in a quarterfinal before losing to Mary Pierce 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in a semifinal. The momentum of the match with Pierce changed in Pierce's favor when, with Dementieva up a set, Pierce received 12 minutes of on-court medical treatment. Later that year in Filderstadt, Dementieva defeated Kim Clijsters 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 for the second time in nine meetings, halting her 22 match winning streak. Dementieva said in a post-match interview that this was her greatest win ever.
Partnering Flavia Pennetta of Italy, Dementieva reached her second doubles final at the U.S. Open. She led Russia to repeat as Fed Cup champions, beating France 3-2 in the final. All three points came from Dementieva, as she avenged her loss to Pierce at the U.S. Open, beat Amélie Mauresmo, and then won the deciding doubles match with partner Dinara Safina.
At the 2005 WTA Tour Championships, Dementieva she lost all three round robin matches against Mauresmo, Pierce, and Clijsters with the same score each time: 6-2, 6-3.
2006 started slowly for Dementieva. After playing a few exhibition matches in Hong Kong, she lost in the first round of the Australian Open to Julia Schruff. But immediately following that tournament, Dementieva won her first Tier I event, the Toray Pan Pacific Open. On the run to the title, she defeated Katarina Srebotnik, Nicole Vaidisova, and Anastasia Myskina, all in three sets. Then, she defeated the resurgent Hingis 6-2, 6-0 in just 61 minutes. Hingis remarked afterwards, "If she played like that all the time, she'd win Grand Slams."
At the Pacific Life Open, despite double faulting 79 times in six matches, Dementieva reached the final. She defeated rising stars Sania Mirza, Ana Ivanovic, and Na Li on the way. Dementieva then garnered an upset semifinal victory over Henin-Hardenne 2-6, 7-5, 7-5. Because that was her fourth three set match of the tournament, fatigue contributed to her 6-1, 6-2 loss to Maria Sharapova in the final.
After Pacific Life, her clay court results were largely mediocre. On grass, Dementieva reached a s'Hertogenbosch semifinal and a Wimbledon quarterfinal. At Wimbledon, Dementieva beat Mirza, Meghann Shaughnessy, Elena Likhovtseva, and Shenay Perry before losting to fourth seeded Sharapova 6-1, 6-4.
Dementieva was Russia's top player for the 2006 Fed Cup World Group I playoff against Croatia, winning both her single matches in straight sets.
On August 13, 2006, Dementieva won the JP Morgan Chase Open in Los Angeles by defeating Jelena Jankovic in the final 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. En route to her sixth career title, she defeated everyone who had beaten (or, in the case of the U.S. Open, would beat) her at the 2006 Grand Slam tournaments— Schruff in the second round, Shahar Peer in the third round, Sharapova in a semifinal (for the first time since 2003), and Jankovic in the final.
At the 2006 U.S. Open, Dementieva reached the quarterfinals for the fourth time, losing to Jankovic 6-2, 6-1. The three games she won were all breaks of serve. Dementieva did not hold serve during the entire match. Dementieva remarked afterwards, "Yeah, it is disappointing, you know. I'm getting older, and I haven't won a Grand Slam, so that's really what I'm thinking about all the time. I feel like I was in a good shape here. That's why it's sad." .
In the second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Dementieva overcame cramps and a 6-4, 4-1 deficit to defeat Srebotnik 4-6, 7-5, 7-5. When serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set, Dementieva collapsed and needed treatment. Dementieva failed to serve out the match but broke Srebotnik again and finished the match on her second opportunity. But due to the injury sustained from her second round match, Dementieva withdrew from the tournament.
At her home tournament in Moscow, Dementieva reached her seventh semifinal of 2006, losing to Anna Chakvetadze, after defeating Peer (and saving a match point) in the second round and Patty Schnyder in a quarterfinal for the first time this year.
Dementieva qualified for the year-ending WTA Tour Championships for the seventh straight time, the only active player to do so. She lost to all three players in her round robin group,: Sharapova 6-1, 6-4; Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-3; and Clijsters 6-4, 6-0.
Grand Slam singles finals
|| U.S. Open
|| Svetlana Kuznetsova