Home>News Center>Sports

Myskina, first Russian woman to win French Open
Updated: 2004-06-05 22:55

Anastasia Myskina became the first Russian woman to claim a Grand Slam title, taking advantage of shaky play by compatriot Elena Dementieva to win 6-1, 6-2 Saturday at the French Open.

Anastasia Myskina of Russia holds the trophy after winning the women's final against her compatriot Elena Dementieva at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros stadium in Paris,June 5, 2004. Myskina won the final 6-1 6-2. [Reuters]
With unspectacular but steady tennis, the No. 6-seeded Myskina capitalized on Dementieva's erratic performance, including 10 double-faults, to win in 59 minutes.

The match was the first all-Russian Grand Slam final and marked the first time in 30 years that Russia had even one woman in the final of a major event.

The No. 9-seeded Dementieva has long been plagued by an unreliable serve, especially in big matches, and that was the case again in her first major final. She lost her first four service games, and missed her final four serves - for two more double-faults — to give Myskina a 5-2 lead in the second set.

Myskina herself double-faulted to lose the first game, then settled down and won the next eight games. She closed the victory when Dementieva sent a return long, and the two foes and longtime friends embraced at the net.

Argentina also has two players in a Grand Slam final for the first time. No. 3-seeded Guillermo Vilas will play unseeded Gaston Gaudio on Sunday, with the winner becoming the first Argentine man to win a major title since Guillermo Vilas at the 1979 Australian Open.

Anastasia Myskina of Russia eyes the ball while returning a backhand to her compatriot Elena Dementieva in the women's final of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros stadium in Paris,June 5, 2004. [Reuters]
With women's tennis on the rise in Russia in recent years, Myskina has been among the nation's most talented young players. Still, the 22-year-old Moscow native wasn't among the favorites in this year's French Open.

She arrived in Paris with a 1-4 lifetime record at Roland Garros but led a wave of upsets, beating Venus Williams and 2001 champion Jennifer Capriati en route to the title.

For the final, the weather was perfect - sunny and 75 degrees - but the tennis less so, especially from Dementieva.

In her opening service game she double-faulted, hit an ace and double-faulted again on the first three points. She double-faulted for a third time on break point as the crowd groaned.

Myskina appeared relaxed as she settled into the match. But Dementieva struggled with awkward footwork - a sign of nerves - and was often out of position on shots. Twice she hit swinging volleys into the net.

Anastasia Myskina of Russia stretches as she returns a forehand to her compatriot Elena Dementieva in the women's final of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros stadium in Paris,June 5, 2004. [Reuters]
By the end of the first set, Dementieva had 19 unforced errors, including five double-faults. Her best shot may have been a mis-hit lob that landed on the net cord and dropped at the feet of a surprised Myskina, who dumped her reply into the net.

Dementieva held for the first time to trail 2-1, then held again to close to 3-2, but she couldn't keep it up.

Serving at 2-4, she double-faulted on the first point and angrily shouted at herself in Russian. The outburst didn't help, and she finished with 33 unforced errors and just 11 winners.

Dementieva and Myskina were the first Russians to reach a women's Grand Slam final since Dementieva's coach, Olga Morozova, was the runner-up at Wimbledon in 1974.

Myskina became only the third woman - and the first in 42 years - to win the French Open after saving a match point. She was one point from defeat in her fourth-round victory against Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Myskina earned $1.02 million and Dementieva $510,000.

  Today's Top News     Top Sports News

China wins praise for bold reforms at APEC meeting



About 30,000 reservoirs have safety problems



Efforts 'paying off' on market status



President: Iraq not to become a US "puppet"



China to send anti-riot peacekeepers to Haiti



Proposal: Iraqis may send US-led troops home


  Roof for Athens Olympic stadium completed
  Judge warns Bryant prosecutors over DNA
  Coria rallies to top Henman in French Open
  Jackson sets sights on record 10th title
  China's tennis fans await Masters Cup in Shanghai
  No cigarette ads to be seen at F1 Chinese GP circuit
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools