Champion Ivanovic crashes out of German Open

Defending champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia crashed out of the German Open at the semi-final stage after a straight sets defeat to Elena Dementieva.

updated: May 16, 2008 16:35 IST
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Defending champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia crashed out of the German Open at the semi-final stage after a straight sets defeat to Elena Dementieva.

Dementieva, whom Ivanovic has never beaten in their four contests, now faces giant killing compatriot Dinara Safina in an all-Russia final.

After losing the first set 6-2, Ivanovic had few answers to Dementieva's impressive start but the 20-year-old Serb rallied and fought back in the second, only for the Russian to pull away with a 7-5 win on Saturday.

Dementieva said: "It's going to be amazing to have a Russian final, I haven't played her (Safina) for a long time. I am really looking forward to it."

She added: "I enjoyed the semi-final, Ana is a great player and I really gave my best today. It is never easy playing against her, but I was really focused and I worked hard for every single point."

Ivanovic said she was pleased to have made it the semi-finals during her first tournament on clay this season.

"Playing the first time on clay is difficult, so I am happy that I came through to the semis, because I had a tough week with one late game and one to continue earlier today.

"I need to be more patient -- I rushed my opportunities, and though I was ahead, I could not benefit from it."

And Ivanovic, ranked second on the WTA rankings, said world number one Justine Henin faces a stiff challenge to retain her Roland Garros title after pulling out of next week's WTA tournament in Rome with fatigue.

"There are many good players who play better at the moment than Justine - so it is difficult to tell," said Ivanovic with Roland Garros starting on May 26. She is in a tough position now as she is feeling a lot of pressure."

Having claimed the scalps of world number one Justine Henin on Thursday and Serena Williams on Friday, Safina booked her place in Sunday's final with a straight sets win over teenager Victoria Azarenka.

The Russian secured a 6-4, 6-1 win over the 18-year-old Belarrussian, who struggled with injury in the second set.

Azarenka, who knocked out seeds Anna Chadvetadze and Alona Bondarenko on the way to the semi-final, looked very strong early on with some superb shots to the base-line.
But her game fell apart in the second set as her frustration got the better of her.

After smashing her racquet on the ground and briefly letting the tears flow, Azarenka started limping heavily and was barely able to complete the match, allowing Safina to wrap up victory.

Safina had the heart to praise the teenager, who will break into the WTA top 20 rankings next week after her performance in Berlin.

"She really played well and there was plenty of pressure from her returns," said Safina. "I hung in there, she was cramping up in the second set which was unlucky for her."

And having lost on her last two Tier I final appearances, Safina says she is determined to make it third time lucky.

"It is going to be a big match for me and, yes, I believe that the third time it will be my lucky time."