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September 2, 2008

Elena Dementieva


6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. So does life get any better than it is now?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, it feels great, you know. And I think -- well, I really expected a tough match against her, and I feel, you know, very pleased the way I was playing today.
You know, we had a big fight in the second set and I lost my serve, so it was a very, very important moment for me to break her again. I'm very happy that I was able to do this.

Q. You haven't lost a set this whole tournament. Is the level you're playing right now good enough to get to the final?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, we'll see. You know, I'm very excited to be in the semis, but I'm sure I need to improve my game and play a better match if I want to go to the final.
If I have to face Jelena Jankovic, who is probably the most consistent player in the tournament, will be a difficult match.

Q. This is your third semifinal here. Coming in here having not lost a set, and I'm sure a confidence boost from your Olympic gold medal, compare the way you're playing now as opposed to the previous times that you entered the semifinal stage.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, I mean, it feels much better to win in two sets, for sure. I remember me being in the final here, but I had such tough matches, like couple 7-6 in the third. It's very tough physically to be ready to play at your best in the final. Then when you, you know, spend so many hours on the court.
Yeah, for sure, it's important, you know, to win in two sets, especially coming from Beijing. I mean, extra time for recovery, it's always good.

Q. There was some confusion at Wimbledon over something you said at a press conference.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I don't want to talk about it.

Q. Have you ever been at this stage of a tournament and felt as confident? I mean, I have to assume you're feeling quite comfortable right now in the way that you're playing. Am I correct in my assessment?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I feel really comfortable. But I realize, you know, that I need to improve. You know, I need to play better at my next match.
Yeah, but for sure, you know, every one gives you a lot of confidence, and you just want to continue to play like that.
Yeah, it just feels good.

Q. You've really clicked in, it seems here, in a way that you obviously sort of never have in your career. Can you identify maybe one thing that's really made the difference?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, I think I was very patient, you know, during my career. I was working a lot, and I was very positive. I was doing through some difficulties, too, just a tough time in my career.
But I was able to go through, you know, and be a stronger player. I just feel very lucky to have very good people with me. You know, my family support, and my mom is always with me. Just people who work with me are really -- they gave me -- they gave me a lot of belief in myself, and this is what mattered to me.

Q. Was there a match or tournament this year where you felt that was when you turned the corner?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, I don't think so, you know. I just -- I feel like I was improving very slowly, you know, from the beginning of the year, but I had some good results in the beginning.
I played some good tennis in the clay courts, especially on the grass with my first good result in Wimbledon semifinal. Yeah, I mean -- you know, coming to the hardcourt season, which is my favorite surface, you know, was really, you know, a comfortable feeling.

Q. You've been to Grand Slam finals and are an Olympic gold medallist. Do you still feel like you have another level you can get to as a competitor, or is this just a matter of you playing well and everything working?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, I feel I need to improve my game. I'm not playing at my best. I'm trying to do everything right in the court, and, you know, you just -- I really feel that there are some players out there that are very powerful, and I need to -- I need to provide something else. I need to be a stronger player. I need to improve my serve.
I mean, I'm so far away from being perfect, you know. There are a lot of things there I can improve in my game.

Q. Physical as well as mental, or just physical?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, the physical part was never a problem for me. I was always feeling very strong physically.

Q. Mentally, you've come a very long way from Paris, the Safina match, also; yes?

Q. Mentally, from Dinara, you've come a lot way from that point.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, after this match, you know, it took me a couple of days. I didn't want to practice, I didn't want to want to think about things. I didn't want to watch the final. It's really tough to have lost in the way I lost it.
But it was an experience, you know. I started from all over again on grass, and lost again to Dinara.
But I was, you know, learning every time, and I think because of this experience I was able to win in Beijing.

Q. You seem to be playing also much more offensively than you have in the past, more aggressive.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, that's what I was working for, you know. I really wanted to attack more. I really wanted to, you know, be very aggressive on the court.
You can't play defensive if -- defensive all the time if you want to be No. 1, if you want to win something big. I mean, that's the way to reply.

Q. There's been a lot of talk this week about the fact that No. 1 ranking has changed serve several times in year among several different women, and maybe there's more parity this year, and with that, a lack of a single dominant player such as Justine had been, and both Serena and Venus prior. Do you think of anybody on tour right now as being a sort of dominant player on the women's side? And do you think those are shoes that you could possibly fill?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, I think probably the most consistent player is Jelena Jankovic for the moment, but I think that Venus is playing very well this year, you know. She really showed some great tennis during the year. She's playing very solid this week, as well.
There is no -- there is no No. 1, you know, for the moment, real No. 1, because -- well, I don't know. Maybe the competition is too tough. It's quite open for a few players, yeah.

Q. Do you feel you're posed to be that player?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, this is a dream of mine, but I don't think about it, you know. I'm just more focused on my game.

Q. You and Jankovic play a fairly similar style, and you have played close before. You had a tough match in Berlin. Do you mentally know what kind of a big battle that will be? You've had some fairly easy matches now, but that will be the one where you're really going to have to dig down deep and win it.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, for sure, against someone like her, you realize -- I mean, she's going to play everything back. She moves unbelievably well on the court, and she's pretty solid on the baseline. She's a very solid player.
You really have to go on the court and create something. There is no way you can wait for a mistake or, you know, just be defensive in the baseline. You really need to do something.
That's what I would like to try.

Q. Serena last night was very, very serious, you know, knowing that she has the quarterfinal coming up. You seem very serious. When you get to this stage of the Grand Slam, does all the fun stop, all the laughing stop, and there's just you and your focus and...
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, I mean... (laughter.)

Q. There it is.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I'm not too serious, believe me.

Q. So you're going to smile a lot?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I'm just trying to look serious. (laughter.)

Q. So you'll be smiling a lot on the court?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, maybe not on the court, but off the court a lot.

Q. When you talked about patience, you said you've had to learn to be patient. Have you had to learn to be patient to get the respect that you have been due as a top 5 player in the world?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, you mean respect from the players or respect from the people?

Q. From the public, people who don't really know you.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, I was never thinking about this. Do I need to -- do I need to get respect? Do I have respect or do I want this respect? I'm just trying, you know, to play some tennis.
I mean, I'm not trying. I always, you know, want to be myself. If it comes, that's great. If not, then that's okay for me.

End of FastScripts

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