Paris - Opportunity knocks again for Elena Dementieva at
the French Open and she hopes that her familiarity with her favourite city Paris
can provide her with the inspiration to at last grab her chance.
The tall, blonde Russian defeated compatriot Nadia Petrova in three sets to
reach what will be her ninth appearance in a Grand Slam semi-final at the age of
She even twice made it to finals, in 2004 in Paris and at the US Open. On
both occasions she lost to Russians, Anastasia Myskina here and Svetlana
Kuznetsova a few months later in New York.
Dementieva admits that not winning a Grand Slam title is getting hard to
"Well, for sure it's on my mind," she said. "I mean, I was in the final a
couple times in the semi-final and never won the Grand Slam.
"This is one of the biggest goals in my career left. This is a great
motivation for me.
"But coming to the Grand Slam I'm not thinking about my chances. I'm not
thinking about, you know, that's the one. I'm just trying to take one match at a
time and trying to build my game and play my best.
"You cannot think about winning a Grand Slam. It's a two week competition,
and anything can happen to you. I'm just glad to be in the semi-finals. Let's
see if I can handle this challenge."
Dementieva knows she will have to play better in Thursday's semi-final
against savvy Italian Francesca Schiavone than she did in a scrappy encounter
against Petrova which swung her way 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 after her fellow Muscovite
re-injured her left thigh.
Her suspect serve was again a burden early on and she was uncustomarily wild
with her groundstrokes.
Dementieva though believes that she has now gained enough experience to be
able to cope with the pressures.
"It's not about showing your best tennis. It's about winning matches," she
said. "In these kind of weather conditions, you really have to push yourself
very hard and stay positive, try to win no matter what."
She also believes that Paris is the place where she can perform best in
sealing a lifelong love affair with the city especially the area around
Montmartre and the Champs Elysees.
"I played my first final here, my first Grand Slam final," said the Russian
who is a fluent French speaker.
"It's always been a very special tournament for me. I like it here. This is
my favourite Grand Slam.
"I just have so many great memories of playing on Philippe Chatrier Court,
and just here in Paris.
"So every time I'm coming here I really feel inspired by the crowd. I just
love to play here.