Dementieva captures Rogers Cup women’s title

TORONTO — Elena Dementieva’s U.S. Open tuneup was an overwhelming success.

Canadian Sports Minister Gary Lund

TORONTO — Elena Dementieva’s U.S. Open tuneup was an overwhelming success.

The No. 4 seed overcame an ugly first set to beat Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday in the final of the US$2-million Rogers Cup. Dementieva’s largely steady play was too much for an error-prone Sharapova to handle in the first all-Russian final in tournament history.

For Dementieva, who takes home US$350,000 for the win, the week couldn’t have gone much better. The hardcourt specialist dominated world No. 2 Serena Williams in the semifinal, and had a similarly easy time against former No. 1 Sharapova as she prepares for the U.S. Open, which gets underway Aug. 31.

“It’s great to have so many good matches against so many top-10 players here,” said Dementieva, who has just three wins in 11 career meetings with Sharapova. “I hope it’s going to be good preparation. For sure, this kind of win gives you a lot of confidence, so right now it’s all about recovering and getting ready for New York.”

By contrast, Sharapova hardly looked like the player that beat three seeded opponents on the way to her first final since April 2008. Continuing her return from a serious shoulder injury that sidelined her for nearly a year, Sharapova committed 10 double faults Sunday and had trouble with even the most routine shots.

Despite her subpar performance against her compatriot, Sharapova said she was pleased by her overall showing.

“I think it was a really great week for me,” said Sharapova, who pocketed $175,000 for the runner-up result. “Playing six matches was great leading up to the U.S. Open. I think this was really good preparation.”

Sharapova had to endure a gruelling three-set match against Alisa Kleybanova in Saturday night’s semifinal, and suggested that the quick turnaround might have played a factor in her Sunday struggles.

“I wasn’t as fresh as I was in the first round,” said Sharapova. “It’s a quick turnaround, but it’s the finals. You can’t really think about it. It’s the way things go.”

The first set was as sloppy as it gets, as both players fought breezy conditions in front of a packed house at the Rexall Centre. It featured eight service breaks, 14 double faults and a number of easy shots hit long, or drilled into the net.

Dementieva went up 4-1 on the strength of two breaks — the first of which was aided by three Sharapova double faults. But Sharapova saved three break points in the next game to hold serve, and closed to within 4-3 when Dementieva double faulted to lose her service game.

Both players traded breaks before Dementieva finally finished things off, converting her third set point when Sharapova hit a forehand into the net.

The second set was a little tamer, with both players holding serve until the sixth game. Sharapova fought off two break points but fired a forehand into the net on the third to hand Dementieva a 4-2 lead.

That was all Dementieva needed, as she held serve throughout and clinched her 14th career WTA Tour title when Sharapova’s drop shot fell into the net on the third championship point.

“I really like to play this tournament, but I’ve never done anything better than first or second round, which was very disappointing for me,” said Dementieva. “Every time I come I have such great crowd support.

“I just feel so happy to finally win this title. It means a lot to me.”

Elsewhere, the sixth-seeded Spanish tandem of Nuria Llagostero Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez beat third-seeded Australians Stephanie Stosur and Rennae Stubbs 2-6, 7-5, 11-9 to capture the women’s title.

Just Posted

Red Deer to get new a plan to end homelessness as the problem persists

Despite some successes there’s ‘a long way to go,’ says manager

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

OTTAWA — A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back… Continue reading

Maskwacis RCMP seeking suspect in fatal hit and run

A Maskwacis man was fatally injured after being hit early Saturday morning on Hwy 611

Many Red Deer-area farmers deal with a disastrous year

Dought in the spring, snow at harvest creates bad yields, sends hay prices soaring

Photos: Part of downtown Red Deer covered in trash over the weekend

Downtown businesses deal with trash, needle debris, graffiti

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — A rally in support of Alberta’s oil industry… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Canada’s Kim McRae finishes seventh at luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada’s Kim McRae finished in seventh place at… Continue reading

Jeff Bridges to receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at Globes

LOS ANGELES — Jeff Bridges may have once been considered as one… Continue reading

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

NEW YORK — Racial justice. Obstruction of justice. Social justice. The Justice… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Most Read