Dementieva, Vesnina in final
Auckland, January 9:
World No 4 Elena Dementieva and Elena Vesnina took differing paths to victory on Friday to set up an all-Russian ASB Classic final. Top seed and Olympic champion Dementieva took just over an hour to sweep aside the semi-final challenge of France’s Arivane Rezai with a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Rezai dropped serve in the opening game but broke back in the next with her characteristic powerful ground strokes deep into her opponent’s court. But the class of the Russian soon asserted itself and the world 97th ranked player had no answer.
But unseeded Vesnina found her path to the final much harder, losing the first set 6-7 (3/7) against Britain’s Anne Keothavong, before winning the next two 6-1, 7-5. The decisive set provided plenty of tension, with both slugging it out from the baseline, although there were plenty of unforced errors.
BRISBANE: France’s Marion Bartoli moved into the final of the Brisbane International when compatriot Amelie Mauresmo withdrew injured during their semi-final. Bartoli was leading 4-0 when Mauresmo called for the trainer after suffering a left thigh strain and decided to quit. Bartoli will take on second seed Victoria Azarenka in Saturday’s final following the Belarusian’s
6-3, 6-1 win over Italian Sara Errani.
In men’s section, seventh seeded French Richard Gasquet upset countryman and doubles partner Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 in quarter-finals. After being blown off court in the opening set, Gasquet staged a remarkable comeback to down the second seeded Tsonga. He will take on eighth seeded Czech Radek Stepanek, a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 winner over Sweden’s Robin Soderling, in the semi-finals on Saturday with the winner to play either Fernando Verdasco or Paul-Henri Mathieu in Sunday’s final.
DOHA: France’s Gael Monfils defeated World No 1 Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4 in the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open. It was the first time that the 22-year-old Parisian had defeated the Spaniard having lost in straight sets in their three previous meetings. Monfils, ranked 13th in the world, will play top American Andy Roddick for a place in the final.