Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Repeat Champion at Amelia; Injury Forces Dementieva to Retire against Kostanic

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Repeat Champion at Amelia; Injury Forces Dementieva to Retire against Kostanic

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID JOHNSON, The Times-Union

Elena Dementieva will not be repeating her improbable run to the Bausch & Lomb Championships.

The defending champion retired Wednesday afternoon after aggravating a right hip strain in the second round after trailing unseeded Jelena Kostanic 7-6 (5), 1-0.

"It was too painful today on the court, and it was getting worse," said Dementieva, who asked for medical attention after the first set. "I couldn't move at all."

She suffered the injury last week in Key Biscayne but advanced to the final before losing to No. 7 Serena Williams 6-1, 6-1. She improved to No. 6 in the Women's Tennis Association rankings Monday and received a first-round bye at Amelia Island Plantation.

Dementieva said she thought the days off between the tournaments would allow her to be ready. She plans to stay at Amelia Island for a couple of days and determine if she can recover in time for the second clay tournament of the season next week in Charleston, S.C.

"I don't think I would have had a problem [if not for the injury]," Dementieva said. "I think I had a good draw here this year, and that makes me feel so upset, because I think I had a very good chance to play [well]."

Dementieva upset current No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne and 1997 Amelia champ Lindsay Davenport to win her first WTA title at Amelia Island Plantation in 2003.

She is the first woman seeded in the top 10 to exit the tournament.

The 22-year-old Russian had problems with her serve, double-faulting 12 times, twice in the only game of the second set. She extended the first set to a tiebreaker with two forehand winners after double-faulting twice from the right side. Kostanic, ranked 62nd, won the tiebreaker after a Dementieva forehand went long.

"It was tough," Kostanic said. "If she won the first set, I don't think she would have retired. I could not overpower her. I tried to mix it up."

Kostanic, 22, said that her forehand is her stronger stroke and that the fact she is left-handed was in her favor as her forehand played well into Dementieva's backhand. …

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