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Rediff.com  » Sports » Dementieva storms into Aus Open semis

Dementieva storms into Aus Open semis

January 28, 2009 10:20 IST

Russia's Elena Dementieva battled her way through brutal conditions to beat unseeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-2 in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Both players struggled in the scorching heat as the temperature approached 40 degrees Celsius but it was the more experienced Dementieva who coped best.

The world number four won the first four games to runaway with the opening set, then raced to a 5-1 lead in the second to wrap up victory in 93 minutes.

"It was very tough to play because of the weather conditions," Dementieva said.

"Maybe it looked easy but I think for such a score like 6-2 6-2, we played one and a half hours, which is a pretty long match.

"She is very strong physically, a very fit player. Playing for the first time, I didn't know what to expect from her."

Despite the lopsided scoreline, Dementieva did not have it all her own way against the Spanish baseliner, who enhanced her reputation as one of the rising stars of women's tennis by reaching her second Grand Slam quarter-final in only four tournaments.

BREAK POINTS

Dementieva served 10 double-faults and had to fight off 10 break points on her own serve, twice as many as Suarez Navarro offered up.

"I had a lot of break points but I couldn't take them," the Spaniard said.

Dementieva has never won a Grand Slam singles title but has been in great form over the last 12 months, winning the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics and making the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open.

The 27-year-old spent the off-season training in Florida to get herself in the best possible shape for Australia although she said there was nothing she could do to fully prepare for the extreme temperatures.

"You can work so hard trying to get ready for the weather conditions but when you have to face 40 or 41 [degrees], there is no way you can get used to it," she said.

"The best way is to play as quick as possible and just get away from the court. There is no way to adjust with the heat here."

"The plan was just to step into the court, just try to be aggressive and make winners."

Dementieva's hard work has already paid off this season, she won two warm-up tournaments in Auckland and Sydney and Wednesday's win over Suarez Navarro extended her unbeaten run this year to 15 matches.

She was also the third Russian woman through to the semi-finals in Melbourne this year, joining Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva. Her semi-final opponent will be either Serena Williams or Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Source:
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