Mon, Oct 15, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Dementieva claims Kremlin Cup title

HOME WIN The Russian fought back from a set down to beat Serena Williams for the first time and afterwards praised the Muscovite fans who cheered her to victory

AFP , MOSCOW

Flavia Pennetta, left, and Chan Yung-jan hold their trophies following the final of the WTA Bangkok Open yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

Unseeded Elena Dementieva of Russia clinched her eighth career title and second this year, beating US fourth seed Serena Williams in the final of the Kremlin Cup joint WTA event yesterday.

Dementieva, twice runner-up in Moscow in 2001 and 2004, defeated Williams for the first time in five meetings 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 to regain a place in the world's top 10.

At the award cermony Dementieva praised her fans for their cordial support adding she was extremely happy to win on home soil.

"It's an incredible feeling when you win at home," Dementieva said. "I'm so happy with myself to win here and even more happy to bring joy to my fans, who supported me throughout the event."

"I knew that in case I failed to win today it could happen never again. And the fact that I never beat Serena [Williams] before helped me. I just came onto the court and played my tennis," she said.

Dementieva broke early in the match but eight-time Grand Slam champion Williams took three consecutive games for a 4-2 lead.

The Russian broke again in the seventh to level at four games all only to throw away the 12th and the set with a string of errors.

In the second the 26-year-old American suddenly ran out of gas, while the local crowd favorite picked up steam and produced three breaks to level at one set all after one hour 13 minutes on court.

Williams, seventh in the WTA rankings, broke immediately in the deciding set but it was her last success in the match as Dementieva replied conclusively taking six consecutive games to clinch the title.

Dementieva pocketed a prize purse of US$182,000, while runner-up Williams, who fired seven aces but committed 59 unforced errors in the match, received US$97,800.

"She played unbelievable!" Williams said of Dementieva's performance. "She should try to play like that more often."

Williams also blamed herself for a poor performance.

"I've made a lot of errors," she said. "It was me. Every ball I hit I felt was out. It was so frustrating."

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