Elena Dementieva flamed out of the Australian Open semifinal today against Serena Williams, and boy, was I surprised. Elena has a respectable 3-4 head-to-head against Serena, and has been victorious the last 3 times they’ve met (including a couple weeks ago in Sydney and this Summer at the Olympics where she ended up winning Gold for Russia.) She’s been riding a wave of good form, lately, with a 10-0 record for the year. Besides a hiccup in the first round, she’s completed all of her matches in Melbourne in straight sets – Serena also had just one three setter, but that was in the heat of the quarterfinals. Williams has admitted to playing poorly throughout the tournament, going so far as to give herself a D+ effort earlier in the week.
But Dementieva still couldn’t do it.
Of course, she was playing Serena Williams, 9-time Major champion, giant of the game and habitual winner of the Aussie Open (at least on the odd years). If the draw had put Elena in Zvonareva’s section, she might have made it one step further but with the same end result. Who knows?
This is the big question on my mind: will Elena Dementieva ever win a Major?
Her playing history at the Majors goes way back to 1999 – just one year after Serena appeared on the scene. In this ten year span, the Russian’s reached the quarterfinals or better in 10 Majors (including one US Open final and one Roland Garros final.) Ten years, ten great chances and not one big trophy to show for it.
I think I feel a country song coming on. . .
But keep the homefires burning, Elena fans, your heroine shows no signs of giving up the fight. She played in her third consecutive Major semifinal today – starting at Wimbledon last year. She’s in terrific shape (unlike Serena, she finished her entire match in the boiling sun yesterday) and faces a field that’s nowhere near as rock solid as her quadriceps.
You heard it here first, folks: Elena Dementieva, 2009 Roland Garros Champion