Tag Archives: Elena Dementieva

Chaos Reigns In Women’s Draw at U.S. Open

We’re now into Day 4 at the U.S. Open and it’s hard to sum up the chain of events that has occurred. Half (or 16) of the seeded players are now gone. And except for Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, the rest of the seeds still in it don’t look like they may survive much longer.

Take for example Dinara Safina. She survived yet another error-filled match against Kristina Barrois to win it 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3. Barrois, who had flashes of serve and volley brilliance, couldn’t seize the moment. Safina deserves credit for just “winning ugly” but one wonders how long it can go on before someone catches her. The only good news for Safina is that no other seeds remain in her side of the draw until the semis, but again, that doesn’t mean she is a sure bet.

Someone whose game and mind held up very well was American Melanie Oudin who pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year by defeating favorite Elena Dementieva 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. Oudin matched Dementieva’s power game shot for shot but what impressed me the most was that she wasn’t afraid to go after the winner and her continued belief that she would win the match. Oudin did get tight serving for the second set at 5-3 where she lost her serve, but then was able to break back to win in. The third set was all Oudin despite suffering from a leg injury that almost seemed to derail her. Dementieva did not help her cause by failing to hold serve until her last service game at 2-5 when it was too late. Oudin, hitting a big serve at 40-30 match point, jumped for joy to the roar of the twenty plus thousand on hand.

The next match was just as dramatic but again more for the blown opportunities by both players rather than stellar play. Number five seed Jelena Jankovic lost to Yaroslava Shvedova 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-7 (6). Jankovic, though playing her trademark defense, never could gain momentum throughout the match while Shvedova would go from hitting amazing winners to committing silly errors. Jankovic had two match points but blew them and lost the match when Shvedova finally ended the misery by serving an ace.

Svetlana Kuznetsova and Caroline Wozniacki both won easily today setting up a potential fourth round encounter.

Maria Sharapova, if she wins tonight, would face Oudin in the next round. One would have to think the winner of that match would be the favorite to reach the semis.

Could the stars be aligning for another potential Serena/Maria final ala the 2007 Australian Open when Sharapova, then number one, was completely beaten down by the resurgent Serena? Is it time for some karmic/tennis payback?

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Day 4 Open Predix – Safina Meltdown Watch

Before we get to the predix of Day Four, don’t forget to tune into tomorrow to “Safina Meltdown Watch” where the world will find out if Dinara Safina can find another to pull herself from the brink of complete brainfreeze in front of Kristina Barrois of Germany. Many actually give Barrois, a top 100 player, a chance against the overanalyzed Russian.

No other matches jump out as potential upsets. On the women’ s side Elena Dementieva will take on the fiesty American Melanie Oudin, Maria Sharapova takes on American Christina McHale while Jelena Jankovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova also see action.

On the men’s side, Novak Djokovic takes on Australian Carsten Ball who got to the finals of L.A. and Andy Roddick take on Marc Gicquel. James Blake takes on Olivier Rochus. Blake landed in a soft part of the draw where, if wins today, could take on Tommy Robredo next round and then possibly Roger Federer in the fourth round. It would be nice to see Blake make something happen at the Open since the rest of his year has been rather sub-par.

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Dementieva’s Toronto Triumph – Is The U.S. Open Next?

Elena Dementieva capped off her very successful summer hard court season by winning the Rogers Cup in Toronto with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Maria Sharapova.

Dementieva, the most consistent women’s player this summer, will win the U.S. Open Olympus Series Race unless Flavia Pennetta, currently third in the race, wins New Haven next week.

Dementieva will be a heavy favorite going into the U.S. Open. Hard courts are her favorite surface and she has always played well at the Open with her best result being a finalist in 2004.

And credit should also go to Sharapova for reaching the Roger Cup finals. Her strong showing will put in the top 32 just in time for the Open seeding next week. Despite her serving problems, Sharapova will be a a true darkhorse at the Grand Slam so long as she gets a good draw.

Watch highlights of the match here.

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Summer Hard Courts – More Fizzle than Sizzle

Rather than do a preview of the women’s event in Toronto and the men’s event in Cincinnati, I thought it would be easier to just look at some of the highlights (and lack thereof) of the summer hard court season so far.

The Frontrunners
For the men, Sam Querrey, Juan Martin del Potro and Andy Murray have so far been the most consistent this summer. Murray just played one event, Montreal, but he won it, and I expect him to at least get to the finals of Cincinnati this week.

For the women, Flavia Pennetta won L.A. and has played well in other events. Jelena Jankovic surprised a few people by winning Cincinnati. Elena Dementieva has also been consistent despite some tough loses in the semis of both Stanford and Cincinnati.

Shaking off the rust

Most of the top players have looked downright shaky for the summer. Roger Federer failed to close out his match against Tsonga in Montreal. Serena Williams has played spotty at best. Dinara Safina, usually very consistent in getting to the semifinals of any event she plays, has only gotten to one final this summer. Even Andy Roddick, who got to the finals of D.C. and semis at Montreal needs to get into an extra gear.

Predictions this week
For the ladies in Toronto, the event is still wide open with Safina, Venus, and Kuznetsova all losing early. A key match is wildcard Kim Clijsters playing Jelena Jankovic. If Clijsters wins, look for her to do very well at the Open. She could beat Serena should they meet, but I’m sure Serena would want to send a message that she’s still the player to beat
Winner – S. Williams.

For the guys in Cinncinati, a key match will be Andy Murray v. Roger Federer if they both make it to the semis. If Murray can win that match, which I think he can, Federer will have a lot to worry about before the Open. On the other side of the draw, if Nadal can get to the finals, he should be in pretty good shape for the Open.

Winner – A. Murray

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Safina to face Jankovic in Cincy Final

Dinara Safina continues her consistent play by reaching the finals of the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open. (say that four times fast) She handily beat rising star Flavia Pennettta 6-2, 6-0. Pennetta, who admitted to being tired after a lot of play this summer, will enter the top ten next week, being the first Italian women to do so.

Safina will play in the finals Jelena Jankovic who survived an almost three hour slug fest against Elena Dementieva. J.J. won 7-6, (2), 0-6, 7-6 (6) after she blew three match points in the third set and then was down 4-6 in the breaker, before somehow pulling through in the end.

I thought Jankovic could make her way into the final this week but if she will have enough left against Safina remains to be seen. I expect Safina to win, but that is never a sure thing.

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