Source: Xinhua

08-17-2008 20:49

Special Report:   2008 Beijing Olympic Games

BEIJING, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Fifth seed Elena Dementieva rallied to beat compatriot Dinara Safina 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in an all-Russian final of the women's singles in the Olympic tennis tournament on Sunday.

Gold medalist Elena Dementieva (C), silver medalist Dinara Safina (L) and bronze medalist Vera Zvonareva, all of Russia, show their medals at the awarding ceremony of women's singles gold medal of Beijing Olympic Games tennis event in Beijing, China, Aug. 17, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)
Gold medalist Elena Dementieva (C), silver medalist Dinara Safina (L) 
and bronze medalist Vera Zvonareva, all of Russia, show their medals 
at the awarding ceremony of women's singles gold medal of Beijing 
Olympic Games tennis event in Beijing, China, Aug. 17, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

Coming into the match with a 5-2 lead over Dementieva in career and never beaten in all three previous meetings this season, the tough-minded Safina could not hold on her winning momentum after having played three grueling matches in 24 hours during the two previous days.

A sad Safina did not even talk to journalists in the mixed zone after the ceremony.

It was hard for both players to hold serve in the first four games of the opening set, and after holding serve in the fifth game, Safina started to gain control and break Dementieva again to jump up to a comfortable 4-2 lead.

The first set victory, however, did not set up the tone for the match as Dementieva came back quickly to storm to a 4-1 lead in the second set and despite serious challenge from Safina, Dementieva pulled one set back at 7-5.

Dementieva kept the momentum on her side to take the final set at 6-3.

Russia has become the first NOC to win all three medals in any discipline of an Olympic tennis event since Britain did so in the 1908 women's singles.

In an earlier match, Russian ninth seed Vera Zvonareva beat China's Li Na to take the bronze medal.

"To win the Olympic gold is the best moment of my career, I am happy to win the top honor after claiming a silver medal in Sydney," said the 26-year-old Dementieva in the mixed zone.

"The match is really difficult as Dinara is in top form and I never beat her this year, but finally I made it. You know, it is always hard to play against a teammate," added the Russian, having played three Games.

By winning the silver medal in Sydney and the gold in Beijing, Dementieva has now become just the fourth woman to win medals in the singles at more than one Olympic Games after Britain Kathleen Mckane, German Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario from Spain.


Editor:Si Qintu