Sharapova too Hot for Dementieva at Indian Wells

Posted on March 18, 2006

Third seed Maria Sharapova held firm during blustery conditions to win the all-Russian showdown against Elena Dementieva in the final of the Pacific Life Open Saturday. Sharapova claimed her second Tier I title with a 6-1, 6-2 win.

Sharapova exploited Dementieva's serve, which had caused her problems throughout the tournament. Although the fourth seed cut her double fault tally to just four for the match, Dementieva won just 43 per cent of points on her first serve and 24 per cent (just four in total) of points on her second serve. Dementieva held serve just once during the match.

The match began with players trading breaks in the opening two games, with Sharapova winning five consecutive games from 1-1 to close out the set. Dementieva took a 2-0 lead early in the second set before Sharapova won the last six games of the match.

Former World No. 1 Sharapova claimed her first title of the year and improved to 11-2 in career finals. Dementieva, who won the first Tier I title of the year in Tokyo, slipped to 5-11 in career finals.

Sharapova said: “It feels really great. Honestly I was having a really tough end of the year last year. Not a lot of people know about it, but it was very frustrating because tournament after tournament I'd be working hard, I'd be trying to get back in shape, playing tennis, and all of a sudden my injury would kind of bring me down again. It was really tough.

“These kinds of tournaments they mean a lot to me, they give me more confidence because I've known I've put in the hard work. I guess you just never know when the hard work will pay off. I guess just trying to stay positive always helps. You know, it's definitely good to see that it did pay off today.”

Sharapova said the windy conditions made playing very difficult. “You can be playing great tennis the past week, you come out and no matter how good you might have been playing the level of tennis goes down the drain basically simply because of the wind.

“I mean, I think it was difficult for both of us. You know, I tried to do everything possible, tried to get the balls in. I mean, a lot of balls, you didn't know which way they were going, especially on the serve."

Dementieva had spent 10 hours on court to reach the final – three hours more than Sharapova – and had played four three-set matches.

Dementieva said: “I think it was very difficult to play today. I think Maria, she was able to handle the situation and play with the wind better today.

"I was mentally prepared. I wanted to play against her. I wanted to face her in Tokyo. I wanted to play her here. For me it's interesting. It's a great challenge for me to play against Maria. I feel I wasn't at my best today, and she was playing great.” (WTA)