Mon, May 12, 2008 - Page 18 News List

Defending champ crashes out in Berlin

AFP , BEIJING

Defending champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia crashed out of the German Open at the semi-final stage on Saturday after a straight sets defeat to Elena Dementieva.

Dementieva, whom Ivanovic has never beaten in their four contests, now faces giant killing compatriot Dinara Safina in an all-Russia final.

After losing the first set 6-2, Ivanovic had few answers to Dementieva’s impressive start but the 20-year-old Serb rallied and fought back in the second, only for the Russian to pull away with a 7-5 win.

Dementieva said: “It’s going to be amazing to have a Russian final, I haven’t played her [Safina] for a long time. I am really looking forward to it.”

“I enjoyed the semi-final, Ana is a great player and I really gave my best today. It is never easy playing against her, but I was really focused and I worked hard for every single point,” she said.

Having claimed the scalps of world No.1 Justine Henin on Thursday and Serena Williams on Friday, Safina booked her place in yesterday’s final with a straight sets win over teenager Victoria Azarenka.

The Russian secured a 6-4, 6-1 win over the Belarrussian, who struggled with injury in the second set.

Azarenka, who knocked out seeds Anna Chadvetadze and Alona Bondarenko on the way to the semi-final, looked very strong early on with some superb shots to the base-line.

But her game fell apart in the second set as her frustration got the better of her. After smashing her racquet on the ground and briefly letting the tears flow, Azarenka started limping heavily and was barely able to complete the match, allowing Safina to wrap up victory.

Safina had the heart to praise the teenager, who will break into the WTA top 20 rankings next week after her performance in Berlin.

“She really played well and there was plenty of pressure from her returns,” Safina said. “I hung in there, she was cramping up in the second set which was unlucky for her.”

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