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Dementieva survives meltdown, enters semis

The 26-year-old fifth seed, Elena Dementieva, reaches her first Wimbledon semis with a 6-1, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3 over Nadia Petrova in a rollercoaster tie.
AFP | By HT Correspondent, London
UPDATED ON JUL 01, 2008 09:03 PM IST

Elena Dementieva reached her first Wimbledon semi-final on Tuesday with a 6-1, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3 over Nadia Petrova in a rollercoaster tie where searing temperatures sent both Russians into meltdown.

The 26-year-old fifth seed, the highest ranked player left, will meet defending champion Venus Williams for a place in the final.

But it was a hard-earned victory for Dementieva who had led by a set and 5-1 and threw away two match points in a virtual carbon copy of her collapse against Dinara Safina in the French Open quarter-finals.

"I was really tight when I served for the match at 5-2 in the second set and maybe I was thinking about what happened at Roland Garros," said Dementieva.

"The third set was difficult so I just tried to stay positive."

Former world number three Petrova, who made the last eight here in 2005, has been dogged by a brittle temperament throughout her career and that maddening fraility returned to haunt her again on Centre Court.

Trailing 2-1 in the first set, the 26-year-old was called for a borderline foot-fault which, in turn, sparked two back-to-back double faults which handed the first break to Dementieva.

The fifth seed reeled off the next six games on her way to taking the first set and creating a 2-0 cushion in the second before Petrova stopped the rot.

Petrova, the 21st seed, sent down her 19th unforced error to hand the 2004 French Open and US Open runner-up another break in the fifth game.

But as the mercury touched 28 degrees, Dementieva wilted.

A 5-1 lead drifted away as Petrova reeled off five successive games to take the set into a tiebreak.

Dementieva, who let slip a one-set, 5-2 lead, as well as squandering a match point in her French Open quarter-final defeat to Dinara Safina, then squandered two match points before Petrova pounced to level the tie with a cool volley.

Dementieva stormed into a 4-0 lead in the decider and held her nerve after dropping serve again in the fifth game to eventually wrap up victory after two and a half hours on court.

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