Warsaw Quarterfinals: Dementieva vs Radwanska

Elena Dementieva needed just an hour to beat Tatiana Perebiynis 6-2 6-0 in the second round of the J&S Cup tournament in Warsaw, Poland. Of all the points contested during the match, Elena won two-thirds of it. What's more is that she only gave up 4 points in the second set. To add to a very good game that Elena played, she served 2 aces and committed only 3 double faults. How many times do we see Dementieva serve less than 5 DFs? Rarely. And oh, her opponent was never able to hold her serve. :)

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Next up for Dementieva is Polish-native Agnieszka Radwanska. This is the 17-year old wildcard's first main draw WTA Tour tournament and she has already upset 2 Top 40 players. She upset Anastasia Myskina in the first round and crushed Klara Koukalova in the second round. Radwanska is ranked 309 in the world. She is also the reigning Junior Wimbledon champ.

On paper, it seems that Radwanska is no match to Dementieva but she is not to be taken that easily. In her last 2 matches, she proved that she is an upcoming star of the tour and that she's a very dangerous opponent. Dementieva should not take her lightly and concentrate on her game. She should continue serving well and show Radwanska that she has a long way to go and needs more experience. Experience is Dementieva's primary advantage in this match. Radwanska will surely have the home-crowd support so that will be her advantage.

Radwanska showed everyone that she can be the future of women's tennis. But she still lacks experience. She made a good run in this tournament and her country is surely proud of her. But I feel that this will be the end of the tournament for her. Elena's experience and groundstrokes will prevail Radwanska's gutsiness in straight sets.

Warsaw Preview: 1st Round vs Perebiynis

Elena Dementieva is making her debut at the J&S Cup in Warsaw as the third-seed of tournament. Kim Clijsters, Patty Schnyder and Svetlana Kuznetsova are the 1st, 2nd and 4th seeds respectively. The top 4 seeds has received a bye in the first round.

Elena's second round match is scheduled today where she'll play Tatiana Perebiynis. Ukrainian Perebiynis is currently ranked at 236. The two have met twice previously and Elena both triumphed on the previous 2 occasions. Although their last meeting was barely 3 years ago, nothing much has changed as Elena is still in the Top Ten while Perebiynis has plummetted from the Top 100.

I don't see much of a problem for Lena in this much. She just have to show up and play her game, not make too many errors. I think Elena can wrap this up in a quick straight-sets victory.

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If Elena manages to beat Perebiynis in the Second Round, she will meet either Klara Koukalova or Agnieszka Radwanska in the Quarterfinals. Radswanska debuted on the tour yesterday where she upset Anastasia Myskina in their first-round match. If Elena makes the semis, she will most likely meet Kim Clijsters whom she defeated in straight sets just over a week ago.

In Doubles news, Elena Dementieva and Galina Boskoeva retired from their first-round match yesterday. Boskoeva sprained her right-thumb. I hope Elena hooks up with Flavia Pennetta again in Doubles soon.

FedCup Preview: Russia vs Belgium

The most intriguing and the most anticipated 1st round FedCup tie is coming this weekend. 3 Top 5 players, 4 in the Top Ten, 6 in the Top 25. What more can a tennis fan ask for?

Belgium: Kim Clijster, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Kirsten Flipkens, Caroline Maes
Russia: Nadia Petrova, Elena Dementieva, Dinara Safina, Maria Kirilenko

In all-time FedCup Head-to-Head, Belgium leads Russia 2-1. The last time they was during the 2001 FedCup Final where Belgium defeated Russia 2-1 in Spain. Interestingly, Clijsters, JHH, Petrova and Dementieva were all present in that final where Clijsters crushed Dementieva 0 and 4, and JHH thrashed Petrova 0 and 3. But that was merely 5 years ago when Petrova and Dementieva were not the solid top ten players that they are now.

Nadia Petrova, as of late, has been blazing taking the rare back-to-back titles at Amelia Island and Charleston. Dementieva on the other hand, won her first Tier 1 title in Tokyo and in good form lately. And we all know that Dementieva plays better when she's playing for her beloved mother Russia. Who can forget her heroic efforts in last year's FedCup final against France?

But clearly, the favorite in this tie is Belgium. Henin is 21-4 this season, won titles in Sydney and Dubai. Clijsters on the other hand is 9-3 this season but has played only once (in Miami where she was upset in her opening round) since Antwerp in February. It's hard to gage whether Clijsters is now injury-free but since we're talking about Clijsters here, we all know that she's a tough competitor and a great champion. Plus, their playing on their home turf not to mention the surface is clay.

On Head-to-Heads, the Belgians lead the Russians by a hundred miles. The combine H2H of Clijsters/JHH vs Petrova/Dementieva is an overwhelming 27-5. Petrova never won against Clijsters and won only once against JHH. Dementieva has 2 wins against each Belgian.

But does the Head-to-Heads really tell us what the result of this weekend's tie will be? I would like to think not. The Russians are arguably the fiercest competitors out there and they're team is much deeper than the Belgians. If ever this tie is to be decided by the doubles rubber, I would say that the Russians might win this. At the end of the day, whichever team has the most heart and guts will go home as the winner of this tie. I just hope that it will be Russia.

Head-to-Heads:

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I have one question in mind though. If Belgium wins this tie, will both Clijsters and Henin commit themselves to playing the next FedCup ties up to the Finals? Hmmm...
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Just wanna keep this one. I made a brief remark at TennisWorld about how Mr. Pete Bodo should make a preview of the upcoming Belgium-Russia FedCup tie this weekend, and there it is! He even mentioned me in his latest entry.

Anyway, goodluck to Team Russia. I'm just so excited about this but it's too bad that our cable channels are not airing it live. They didn't realize that this is the most intriguing first round match in the FedCup history ever with 4 top 10 players competing in this tie. Belgium has World Nos. 2 and 3 Kim Clijster and Justine Henin-Hardenne, while Russia has World No. 5 Nadia Petrova and World No. 9 (and last year's FedCup Heroine) Elena Dementieva. Dementieva led Russia to it's second-straight FedCup title last year against France when she won both her singles rubbers against Amelie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce, and her doubles match with Dinara Safina. Russia is looking for their straight FedCup Title.

Preview: Miami 2nd Round

After receiving a 1st round bye, Elena Dementieva will face 1144-ranked, 16-year old Anna Tatishvili in the 2nd Round of the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami Florida. Tatishvili defeated Indian-sensation Sania Mirza 7-6(6) 6-1 7-6(8) in a grueling 2 hours, 39 minutes 1st round match.

I haven't heard so much about this girl but she probably is a newcomer. Looking at her match statistics against Mirza, it looks like she won the match because Mirza lost it. Mirza had 82 unforced errors compared to her 53 and 54 winners compared to her 24. Anyway, it also looks like her service is not spectacular as she committed 10 double faults throughout the match.

Clearly, Elena has the advantage in this match. All she has to do is come prepared and don't give up easy points for her opponent. We all know that elena always has trouble finding her rhythm during the start of the tournament but I believe that this time, she'll win her opening match in straigh sets.

Davai Elena!

Preview: Nasdaq-100

The draw for the Nasdaq-100 Open was finally released earlier today. 8 out of the top 10 players are present in the draw, only missing Lindsay Davenport and Mary Pierce who both withdrew due to injuries. To everyone's surprise (can you hear the sarcasm?), Serena Williams also pulled out from the tournament last week. 

Anyway, let's dissect the draw now. The draw has 32 seeds, each of them was given a BYE in the first round. Amelie Mauresmo (who took over the top ranking this week) is the top seed and Kim Clijsters is the second-seed. The top half of the draw looks tougher than the bottom half with Mauresmo, Petrova, Schnyder, Henin-Hardenne, Kuznetsova and Hingis all cramped up there. Mauresmo's quarter is definitely tougher than Justine's. Mauresmo could face two of the three players who has beaten her this year: Ivanovic in the 4th round and Petrova in the quarters. Justine's quarter is really good. It's almost sure that she'll sail to the quarters of the tournament (if her knee is okay) where she will possibly face Hingis, Kuznetsova or Schnyder. Hingis could meet Kuznetsova in the third round and if she wins that one, she'll meet her compatriot Schnyder in the fourth.

The bottom half of the draw features Venus Williams, Myskina, Sharapova, Dementieva and Clijsters. The third quarter of the draw where Sharapova resides looks good for her and it looks like she'll also sail to the QF where she could possibly meet Venus who has only played once this year. That is if Venus could win in the first few rounds of the tournament and beat Pennetta (hope her ankle is now ok) or Myskina in the fourth round. It's really hard to measure how well Venus will do here, I guess it all depends on how much she wants to get back on form and win. She really has to win a few matches here or she'll surely be out of the top 10 after this tournament.

Elena Dementieva and Kim Clijsters headlines the last quarter of the draw. Kim also has a soft draw until the quarters where she might be meeting Elena. She only has Dechy or Groenefeld on her way to meeting Elena in the quarters. In Elena's case, she might possibly bump into Sania Mirza (who she beat last week in Indian Wells) who's now unseeded in the second round, Krajicek or Safarova in the 3rd round, and Golovin or Schiavone in the fourth round before she meets Kim in the quarters.

So there we go. Davai Elena! I hope you save some energy for the later rounds of the tournament! Good luck!

Indian Wells wrap-up

The Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells is finally over. Roger Federer (to everyone's surprise) and Maria Sharapova took home the trophies beating James Blake and Elena Dementieva in the finals respectively.

Anyway, I'm really glad that Elena reached the finals of this tournament. She proved a lot during the past 2 weeks. I'm really happy for her. Beating Justine in the semis 6-2 5-2 down is no small feat. The only thing I'm not happy about is the way she played the earlier rounds. She had to play 3 tough 3-setters before the semis and an almost 3-hour match against JHH in the semis. Naturally, she was tired when she came to the Finals against Sharapova and not much gas was left in the tank. The wind during the match did not help at all. And because of the wind, she resorted to her old serve to be safe and keep her serves in.

It was really funny and ironic. She served 14 DFs against Henin-Hardenne and Ivanovic, 18 against Mirza, 11 against Li, and 16 against Yakimova but won the match. In the finals, she only served 4 DFs (Sharapova also had 4) and lost the match.

Oh well, it was still a good tournament for Lena. She's been really consistent this year after that disappointing Aussie Open. Anyway, Key Biscayne is almost under way. I hope she also does well there.

Davai Elena! On to Miami!

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Preview: Indian Wells Semis - Elena vs JHH

Top-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne will face fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva in tomorrow's Semi-final match at Indian Wells. The winner in this match will face the winner of the Hingis-Sharapova match, who by the way will be facing each other for the third time since Martina's comeback, in the Finals. Justine leads Elena in their Head-to-Head 7 to 1.

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In today's game against Ana Ivanovic, Elena committed 14 double faults. Ivanovic is no Henin-Hardenne so Elena can't really afford to give too much free points tomorrow. If she could just keep her serves in. Aargh... Anyway, we all know what Elena needs to do to win this match. She has to hold serve every single time and go down the line. A lot of us are wondering why she keeps hitting her forehand cross-court instead of hitting it down-the line. Well, Elena seemed to have listened to us as she went down the line more in today's match.

Aside from Elena's serve, what worries me is how fresh would she be and how much energy does she have left for tomorrow's match. We all know that her fitness is superb, her groundstrokes one of the best... But she has played three tough 3-setter matches in this tournament. Can she produce her best tennis against the seemingly invincible Justine Henin-Hardenne who is 14-1 this season? Her only lost coming from that infamous Australian Open Final against Amelie Mauresmo. Elena's only win against JHH was in the Semis of the Amelia Island tournament three years ago, which coincidentally was her first WTA Tour career title. It is not impossible to beat Justine. I think that she has to keep Justine moving and make her run since Justine's fitness is not as good as Elena's. She should be aggressive, control the points and not wait for Justine to make a mistake since Justine don't really make a lot of unforced errors unless she's really having an off day.

I'm so hoping that Elena is so on tomorrow and I hope she can produce her best tennis against feisty Justine Henin-Hardenne.

Davai Elena! Keep fighting!

Dementieva d. Ivanovic

Elena Dementieva defeated Ana Ivanovic 2-6 6-4 6-2 on the Quarterfinals of the Pacific Life Open.

Fourth seeded Russian Elena Dementieva shrugged off another round of service yips to advance to the semifinals of the Pacific Life Open Thursday. The World No. 8 served up 14 double faults but still rallied from a set down to defeat eighth-seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Dementieva is chasing her second Tier 1 title of the year following her victory at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo - the biggest title of her career to date. The Russian again showed why she is a gritty competitor, improving her three-set record to 70-24 lifetime.

She improved to 13-3 on the year and 19-5 lifetime in Indian Wells. Dementieva will play the winner of tonight's quarterfinal between top seed and 2004 champion Justine Henin-Hardenne and 17th seed Gisela Dulko.

Dementieva said: "I just feel like I'm a very slow starter. You know, I usually started really to play well when I'm in trouble, like it's happen today when I was one set, 1-0 down. Just started to play a little bit more aggressively. I think I have to learn how to do it from the beginning of the match, so I can save some energy for the semifinal, for the final."

o-o

Elena continues to baffle all of us. Now that she has admitted that is a slow starter, I wonder what she will do to change that. Anyway, it is a great win for Elena. Hope she continues her success at Indian Wells.

Davai Elena!

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