x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Dementieva ready for Williams test

Elena Dementieva will look to cap a memorable year when she steps into action at the Sony Ericsson Championships in Qatar.

Elena Dementieva, who won in Dubai in February, will face Dinara Safina in Qatar.
Elena Dementieva, who won in Dubai in February, will face Dinara Safina in Qatar.

DOHA // Elena Dementieva will look to cap a memorable year of action that saw her triumph in Dubai and at the Olympics when she steps into action at the Sony Ericsson Championships in Qatar tonight. The Russian arrived in Doha still basking in the glory of winning the Dubai Championships in February and then taking the Olympic gold medal at the expense of her higher-ranked compatriot Dinara Safina in August in Beijing.

She is due to face Safina again this week as she is in her group for the opening stages of the competition along with the two Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. It is Serena who Dementieva faces first in tonight's game and the world No 5 is looking to draw inspiration from her victory in Dubai. "It all started in Dubai," she reflected. "I really improved my game a lot after that tournament [in February]. So for me, coming back to this part of the world and playing in Doha for the first time, is a great experience. I'm very excited about it. But the biggest goal for me was to play the Olympic games and win the gold medal. There is nothing like it."

Dementieva will know though that she faces a tough task to reach the latter stages of the competition due to being in the same group as the Williams sisters. Serena is the most recent grand slam champion, having won the US Open in her own backyard two months ago and her rivals will be acutely aware that when she and big sister Venus, who won Wimbledon in July, focus their minds on winning tournaments, they usually win them.

wjohnson@thenational.ae