Sharapova Outlasts Fellow Russian Dementieva to Reach WTA Zurich Final

Posted on October 24, 2004

<a href='' id=namelink>Maria Sharapova</a>Russian Maria Sharapova took a lot of heat in early October for playing two Asian tournaments where she was the lone Top 35-ranked player, seen as a desperate bid to regain her confidence after a slump following her Wimbledon win.

Apparently it worked.

On Saturday at the WTA stop in Zurich, Sharapova followed her quarterfinal win over Venus Williams with a three-set win over fellow Russian and two-time 2004 slam runner-up Elena Dementieva 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

"It was a very tough match and a very long one, so I'm happy to have won," Sharapova said. "I thought I was the more aggressive player on the crucial points which helped me dictate the play."

In the final Sharapova, who is now riding a 12-match winning streak, will face unseeded Aussie Alicia Molik, who outlasted homecountry favorite and No. 10 seed Patty Schnyder, rebounding after dropping the first set to win in three.

"I've beaten a lot of Top 20 players this week so I'm on a roll and just hope I can continue that tomorrow," Molik said. "I won't be looking to change too much about my game. Maria's been playing some great tennis but I just plan to worry about what I'm doing."

Sharapova won her only meeting with Molik earlier this year on the grasscourts at Birmingham in straight sets.

The doubles final will be (2) Black/Stubbs vs. (1) Ruano Pascual/Suarez.