All Russian finals have become common place on the WTA tour. At the Rogers Cup, Elena Dementieva stopped Maria Sharapova from claiming her first title since April 2008. Dementieva beat Sharapova 6-4, 6-3 at this premier affair to gather her third title of the season.
By reaching the finals, each woman ended a drought. For Sharapova, it was her first since rejoining the tour in May while for Dementieva her first since February. The wind was part of the story as it wreaked havoc on the players’ serve. After Dementieva held at love, Sharapova double faulted three times to be broken at love. Yet, Dementieva promptly returned the favor as she caught the serving jitters and with double faults was herself broken at love. Even when Maria managed to put a serve in play, Elena’s return placed her under pressure. With a forehand up the line winner, Dementieva captured another break and with a love service game went ahead 4-1. Subsequently, Dementieva had four more break points opportunities to stretch her lead. But through sheer gut, Sharapova hung in to win her first service game for 2-4. Then, by attacking second serves, with a forehand up the line winner, Maria had double break point. Sharapova cashed in when Dementieva double faulted. Still, the serve continued to haunt Sharapova. The next game, Dementieva gained her fourth break point when Sharapova’s forehand went wide. Ultimately, Maria double faulted to seal the deal. However, serving for the set at 5-3, Dementieva produced a couple of costly backhand errors and double faulted to let Sharapova back in the set. Over the years, Dementieva has learned to block out her serving woes. With great defense, Elena forced Maria into forehand errors and broke to wrap up the set.
With fatigue weighing in, Sharapova gambled by shortening the points. Initially, Sharapova had some success. Dementieva had to fight off double break point to stay on serve at 2-1. But, with Sharapova serving at 2-3, with a backhand pass winner, Dementieva had triple break point. Elena capitalized when Maria’s forehand found the net. Dementieva consolidated with a love game for 5-2. After Sharapova held readily, Dementieva had trouble finding her first serve. Dementieva’s wheels came to the rescue as she made a forehand winner off a Sharapova dropshot to reach championship point. Although Dementieva could not seal the deal at that time. On the third match point Elena was able to as Maria’s dropshot failed to clear the net.
Although the field in Toronto included all of the top ten ranked women only Serena Williams and Dementieva made it to the semis. Jelena Jankovic was the only other top ten player to even reach the quarters. Dementieva was able to avenge her Wimbledon loss to Serena. With Dementieva’s performance, she has positioned herself as a definite contender for the U.S. Open title.