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 Elena  Dementieva

Born:   October 15, 1981

Tennis player, 2008 Olympics Gold Champion


Elena Dementieva was born on 15 October 1981. She  is a professional Russian tennis player who retired in 2010. Dementieva is most notable for winning the singles gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijin. She won 16 WTA singles titles and reached the finals of the 2004 French Open and 2004 US Open. Dementieva achieved a career-high ranking of World No. 3, which was accomplished on 6 April 2009. She announced her retirement on 29 October 2010, after her final match at the 2010 WTA Tour Championships. Dementieva ended her career ranked World No. 9.

Dementieva was born in Moscow. She was rejected by Dynamo Sports Club and the Central Red Army Tennis Club at the age of 7, before enrolling at Spartak tennins Club, where she was coached for 3 years by Rauza Islanova, the mother of Marat Safin and Dinara Safina. She then moved to the Central Red Army Club with Sergei Pashkov, when she was 11. She was later coached by her mother Vera and her older brother Vsevolod. 

Dementieva played and won her first international tournament, Les Petits As, in France at the age of 13. In 1997, she entered the WTA top 500. She turned professional in 1998 and entered the top 100 in 1999.

In 1999, Dementieva represented Russia in the Fed Cup final against the United States. She played her first Grand Slam main draws, qualifying for the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, along with receiving a direct entry into the US Open. She reached the second round at the Australian Open and French Open, made a first round exit at Wimbledon and reached the third round of the US Open.

In 2000, she entered the top 20 by winning more than 40 singles matches for the second straight year and earned more than U.S. $600,000. She became the first woman from Russia to reach the US Open semifinals, where she lost to Lindsay Davenport. At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Dementieva won the silver medal, losing to Venus Williams in the gold medal match. In 2000, Dementieva was named the WTA tour's Most Improved Player.

Dementieva's breakthrough year was 2004. In Miami, she defeated Venus Williams in the quarterfinals and Nadia Petrova in the semifinals. Dementieva then lost to Serena Williams. On 5 April, she reached her highest singles ranking at sixth in the world.

In May at the French Open, Dementieva reached her first Grand Slam final. Dementieva lost to Myskina in the first all-Russian Grand Slam final.

At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens she lost to Alicia Molik at the first round. Later that year she reached her second Grand Slam final but was defeated by Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. Following the US Open, Dementieva won her first title in Hasselt and reached the Moscow finals for the second time, losing to Myskina.

In 2005 and 2006 Elena was in the top ten. In this period she played in semi-finals of US, Open, Indian Wells and the Kremlin Cup.
In 2007 after her first semifinal of the year at the Tier I Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Dementieva suffered a rib fracture in Antwerp and was off the tour for nine weeks, leaving the top 10 in April for the first time in nearly four years. Having returned Dementieva won the Tier III event in Istanbul. In the final of the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Dementieva defeated Serena Williams for the first time in her career. Winning the title in Moscow she returned to the top 10 at World No. 10 for one week. But she finished the year No.11.
In 2008 at Australian Open Dementieva lost the fourth round to eventual champion Maria Sharapova.
At the Bijing Olympics in 2008, Dementieva was down a set and a break before defeating fourth-seeded Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. She then defeated Zvonareva in the semifinals and Safina in the three set final to win the gold medal.

In 2009 Elena achieved her highest career singles ranking of World No. 3. By reaching the Top 3, she became the sixth Russian to do so.

Dementieva's first tournament and tour title of the year came at the Medibank international, where she was also the defending champion. She defeated world no. 1 Serena Williams in the final, successfully defending her title.
Dementieva announced her retirement in an on-court ceremony on 29 October 2010 after WTA Tournament in Doha. Dementieva ended her career ranked World No. 9, with 16 WTA singles titles and 2 Grand Slam final appearances.

On 16 July 2011, Dementieva married a hockey player Maxim Afinogenov on the roof of the Ritz Hotel in Moscow.

Irina Fomina

Tags: Elena Dementieva Olympic Games Russian sport   

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