Elena & Aleks To Clash
Published May 27, 2010 12:00
PARIS, France - They both have a special place in their heart for Roland Garros but after Friday only one of them will be left standing. Elena Dementieva and Aleksandra Wozniak set up a third round clash at the French Open on Thursday, both winning their matches in straight sets.
Wozniak, who recorded the best Grand Slam result of her young career here last year by reaching the fourth round, was the first of the two to move on, smacked 20 winners to beat No.32 seed Kateryna Bondarenko, 64 61.
"I was hitting the ball really well, really deep. That's what I had to do against her," Wozniak said. "Kateryna is a really good player to win against Venus and a lot of the Top 10 players. She also has a lot of experience."
It has been full circle for Wozniak over the last year, as she reached her career-high of No.21 shortly after that round of 16 appearance here last year, but is now more than twice that - No.48 - after some spotty results the last 12 months.
The Wozniak who beat Bondarenko looked like the No.21-ranked Wozniak.
"I'm feeling comfortable on the court and believe in my game again," the 22-year-old Canadian added. "I've been working with my old coach again in the last few weeks. Before that, I wasn't improving anymore and lost my confidence. I wasn't enjoying myself anymore. I thought, 'I don't want to keep going like this.'
"This year is even better than last year, because I feel like I hit rock bottom... even if bad things come my way now, I can handle them better.
"I think we can say this is my favorite tournament."
Dementieva, the No.5 seed, was tested in the second set, having to rally from 3-0 down, but managed to close Anabel Medina Garrigues out in straight sets nevertheless, 62 76(3). Afterwards, the former French Open runner-up - losing to Anastasia Myskina in the 2004 final - was asked about her chances.
"I don't think about my chances, I just like to play here. This is my favorite Grand Slam," the Russian said. "Every time I come to Paris, I feel inspired by the crowd, the atmosphere... I'm just trying to play my best."
Dementieva and Wozniak have only met once before, in the first round of Madrid two weeks ago, with Dementieva winning handily, 60 61.
"I had so many break chances and didn't take them. I was a bit intimidated," Wozniak said. "I'm going to go on the court and just feel comfortable out there. I won't let myself, or whoever is in front of me, take my focus away. I will play with confidence and belief and approach the match positively."
"We just played a couple of weeks ago, but I'm sure this will be a new match, a different match," Dementieva said. "She's a very aggressive player with a good serve. It's going to be a tough challenge for me. There isn't much time for me to recover, and these conditions are tough. We'll see what happens tomorrow."
Other players getting matches in before darkness hit were No.18 seed Shahar Peer, who dominated the second and third sets in a 36 60 61 win over Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and No.27 seed Alona Bondarenko, who beat Magdalena Rybarikova, 63 63. No.12 seed Maria Sharapova and No.22 seed Justine Henin were both up a set when their matches got suspended, while No.13 seed Marion Bartoli was at 4-5 in the first set.