Toronto:Elena Dementieva reached the Rogers Cup final with a 7-6 (2), 6-1 win over Serena Williams on Saturday.
The fourth-seeded Dementieva will face unseeded Maria Sharapova in Sunday's all-Russian final after the former world No. 1 outlasted compatriot Alisa Kleybanova 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the other semifinal.
Sharapova has dominated Dementieva in her career, winning eight of 10 meetings. They last met at the 2008 Australian Open, where Sharapova routed Dementieva 6-2, 6-0 in the round of 16.
Dementieva kept her cool while overcoming a 5-3 first-set deficit, and made the second-seeded Williams look ordinary in front of an enthusiastic stadium court crowd at the Rexall Centre. Dementieva also avenged her loss to Williams in the semifinals at Wimbledon, a three-set classic that took nearly three hours.
"I was really waiting for this match after Wimbledon," said Dementieva, who has two tournament wins this year but none since January. "It's always very interesting to play against Serena, and I was looking for revenge after Wimbledon.
"I was very positive on the court, and very satisfied with the way I was playing."
Williams, the Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, did her part to make things easier for Dementieva. The 2001 champ was broken five times and looked out of rhythm, hitting routine shots long, wide or into the net.
"I can't say I was especially feeling the fire," Williams said. "Obviously you want to do well, and I always really want to do well. Honestly, I think I could have and should have won, but I didn't, so .... it is what it is."
With the win, Dementieva has beaten Williams in four of their last five hardcourt meetings, a positive sign for Dementieva with the U.S. Open starting in just over a week. But Dementieva said she wouldn't get caught looking too far ahead.
"You never know," she said. "I feel like I've had a lot of good matches over the past three weeks, and I hope it's going to be a good preparation for the U.S. Open. But right now, I just want to focus on the final."
Williams had been broken just once in her first three matches _ and it was the only break point opportunity she had allowed all tournament. But she struggled from the outset against Dementieva, giving up a break in the third game of the match.
The players traded more breaks _ six in total _ before Dementieva prevailed in the tiebreaker, opening up a 4-1 lead and eventually capturing the set when Williams hit a forehand long. It was the first set Williams had lost all tournament.
"I really probably should have won the first set, which probably would have (led to) a different result," Williams said. "But I didn't. I started making a lot of errors (on) key shots I should have made."
Dementieva broke Williams to jump ahead 2-0 in the second, and held serve for the rest of the way as a frustrated Williams continued to pile on unforced errors. The match came to an end when Williams pushed a forehand wide.
Sharapova gutted out a victory over Kleybanova, who needed more than three hours to get past No. 5 Jelena Jankovic a night earlier. Sharapova, who missed nearly a year with a serious shoulder injury, will be making her first appearance in a final since April 2008.
Kleybanova gamely fought off 12 break points in her first two service games before Sharapova capitalized on No. 13, ripping a crosscourt winner to take a 2-1 lead. Sharapova converted her next break point chance to extend her advantage to 4-1 and held serve from there, making good on her third set point.
Kleybanova opened the second set with a flourish, breaking Sharapova for the first time and building a 4-1 lead. Sharapova stormed back to level at 4-4, but Kleybanova pulled back in front and earned a break to win the set after Sharapova committed her ninth double fault.
Another break _ again capped by a Sharapova double fault _ put Kleybanova up 3-1 in the third set. But Sharapova clawed back again, breaking Kleybanova twice to roar ahead 5-4.
She closed out the 2-hour, 38-minute marathon with consecutive aces, her fifth and sixth of the match.