Sharapova Shines in SFs

Maria Sharapova edged Alisa Kleybanova to reach the first final of her 2009 comeback.

Published August 22, 2009 11:59


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TORONTO, Canada - Elena Dementieva got her revenge for a nail-biting Wimbledon semifinal loss to Serena Williams in Toronto on Saturday, beating the American in the same round of the Rogers Cup to set up an all-Russian final with Maria Sharapova at the Premier stop.  Toronto: SF Highlights

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Dementieva and Williams played arguably the most entertaining match of the year in the round of four at the All-England Club, with Dementieva holding a match point in the third set before ultimately succumbing, 67(4) 75 86. But the case was far different in Toronto, as the Russian rallied from 5-3 down to take the first set then rolled through the second set to beat the world No.2 in a lopsided ending, 76(2) 61.  Highlights: Dementieva vs. S.Williams

"Both Williams sisters feel very comfortable playing on grass. It seems like it's their favorite surface to play on. I like to play on hard - this is my favorite surface," Dementieva said. "I was waiting for this match after Wimbledon. It's always very interesting to play against Serena, especially when I was looking for revenge. I was very positive today." Interview: Elena Dementieva

"She was obviously much tougher than all of my other opponents this week," Williams said. "I wanted to do well - I always want to do well. I wanted to win. Honestly, I think I could have and should have won, but I didn't. But when I lose I learn a lot from my losses. I didn't win today but I hope I'll win the war."

Dementieva will play in her fourth final of the year, having won back-to-back titles in the first two weeks of the season at Auckland and Sydney but falling in the final of Paris [Indoors] to Amélie Mauresmo, right after the Australian Open. She is 13-14 lifetime in Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles finals.  Shot of the Day #1: Elena Dementieva

"I feel like I've had a lot of good matches playing in the US Open Series over the past three weeks, and I hope it's going to be good preparation for the US Open," Dementieva added. "Right now I just want to focus on my final tomorrow."

Sharapova won an all-unseeded affair in the feature night match against Alisa Kleybanova, beating her hard-hitting and giant-killing countrywoman in a match that went until almost 11pm, 62 46 64. Sharapova struggled with her form in the second set, hitting six of her 12 double faults there, but after falling behind 3-1 in the third she caught fire again, pounding winners into the corners and winning five of the last six games.  Highlights: Sharapova vs. Kleybanova

This will be Sharapova's first final since returning to the Tour after a nine month shoulder injury lay-off. She has been to the quarters or semis in five of her six previous events, her only pre-quarterfinal loss coming at Wimbledon (where she lost second round). She is 19-7 lifetime in singles finals on the Tour.  Shot of the Day #2: Maria Sharapova

Sharapova has won eight of 10 previous meetings against Dementieva, including a blowout in their most recent encounter last year at the Australian Open (Sharapova beat Dementieva in the fourth round, 62 60). Both of Dementieva's career wins over her countrywoman have come on outdoor hardcourts, however.

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