Thursday, April 7, 2011

Elena Dementieva

Born on October 15, 1981 in Moscow, Russia
Elena Dementieva (Russian: Елена Вячеславовна Дементьева, Elena_dementieva.ogg jɪˈlʲenə dʲɪˈmʲentjɪvə ); is a professional tennis player from Russia who has won two Olympic medals in singles, including the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She has also reached the finals of two Grand Slam events. As of 23 February 2009, she is ranked World No. 4.

"I am not at all tempted by the title of 'Tennis Lolita'. I am trying to prove myself on the court and not off the court."

"When you play you don`t even think about the score. You`re trying to win every single point. I was trying to stay focused."

"It`s really a great start to the year no matter whether it`s an exhibition or not. I was trying to play my best and I really did it."

"I feel much stronger now and I know what it takes to reach a grand slam final. I just feel I need to take one more step and I think I can do that this year."

- Elena Dementieva

Blonde, tall and cute, Elena is almost the stereotype of the blonde hottie. She has a cheery demeanor on the court, giving her an irresistible schoolgirl charm, especially when she ties her hair in a ponytail.

She throws her arms up for joy when she scores, and contorts her face into a poignant grimace when she loses, always desirable in her range of emotions. And in a sexy Yonex tennis dress that show off her legs, the word "love" acquires a double meaning.

She played and won her first international tournament, Les Petits Aces, in France, at the age of 13. In domestic tournaments back home, she was usually the winner or at least a runner-up. Elena always remained among the top four women in her country, along with Anna Kournikova, Ekaterina Sysoeva, and Anastasia Myskina.

Under the wing of Sergei Pashkov in the Central Red Army Club (which gladly took her in this time), Elena grew as a player. She radically retransformed her technique and learned how to dominate the courts, developing her crushing two-handed backhand. On August 25, 1998, she turned professional.

Her rise in the sport was electrifying. Ranking #182 in 1998, she climbed to #62 in 1999, and hit #12 in 2000. That year, she represented Russia in the Sydney Olympics, leading her compatriots in the opening ceremonies. She went into the semi-finals with a strong game, where her only setback was a set down against Jelena Dokic. Elena recovered, beating Dokic 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Dementieva is an offensive baseline player. Her primary groundstroke is her forehand, which she hits hard and flat. In particular, her running forehand, which she rarely misses, is a key weapon for Dementieva when she's on the defensive. Dementieva is also known for her athleticism and speed around the court. Dementieva makes few net approaches except to return drop shots from her opponents or to take advantage of weak returns from her opponents with drive volley winners.

Dementieva's primary weakness is her serve, which can be inconsistent in tight situations. However, she has shown improvement in this area since 2008, committing fewer double faults and occasionally managing aces. Dementieva also squanders her chances of closing matches sometimes, resulting in a huge number of her matches having to go on to a third set.

Winner (13):
2009 - Auckland, Sydney;
2008 - Dubai, Olympics, Luxembourg;
2007 - Istanbul, Moscow;
2006 - Tokyo [Pan Pacific], Los Angeles;
2004 - Hasselt;
2003 - Amelia Island, Bali, Shanghai;
1998 - ITF/Buchen-GER;
1997 - ITF/Istanbul 3-TUR; 1996 - ITF/Jurmula-LAT.
Finalist (14):
2009 - Paris [Indoors];
2008 - Berlin, Istanbul;
2006 - Indian Wells;
2005 - Charleston, Philadelphia;
2004 - Miami, Roland Garros, US Open, Moscow;
2002 - 's-Hertogenbosch;
2001 - Acapulco, Moscow;
2000 - Olympics.

Winner (6):
2005 - Los Angeles (w/Pennetta);
2003 - 's-Hertogenbosch (w/Krasnoroutskaya);
2002 - Berlin, San Diego, Moscow, Tour Championships (all w/Husarova);
1997 - ITF/Istanbul 3-TUR, ITF/Tbilisi-GEO, ITF/Batumi-GEO (all w/Myskina).
Finalist (7):
2006 - Berlin (w/Pennetta);
2005 - Sydney (w/Sugiyama), US Open (w/Pennetta);
2002 - Paris [Indoors], Indian Wells, US Open (all w/Husarova);
2001 - Moscow (w/Krasnoroutskaya).

Russian Fed Cup Team, 1999, 2001-03, 2005-06, 2009;
Russian Olympic Team, 2000, 2004, 2008.

Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 64 kg (140 lb; 10.1 st)
Turned pro 25 August 1998
Plays Right; Two-handed backhand
Career prize money US$ 11,110,274

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