Elena Dementieva's U.S. Open tuneup was an overwhelming success.
The No. 4 seed overcame an ugly first set to beat Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday in the final of the US$2-million Rogers Cup. Dementieva's largely steady play was too much for an error-prone Sharapova to handle in the first all-Russian final in tournament history.
For Dementieva, the week couldn't have gone much better. The hardcourt specialist dominated world No. 2 Serena Williams in the semifinal, and had a similarly easy time against former No. 1 Sharapova as she prepares for the U.S. Open, which gets underway Aug. 31.
Sharapova, playing in her first final since returning from a serious shoulder injury, committed 10 double faults and had trouble with even the most routine shots.
The first set was as sloppy as it gets, as both players fought breezy conditions in front of a packed house at the Rexall Centre. It featured eight service breaks, 14 double faults and a number of easy shots hit long, or drilled into the net.
Dementieva went up 4-1 on the strength of two breaks - the first of which was aided by three Sharapova double faults. But Sharapova saved three break points in the next game to hold serve, and closed to within 4-3 when Dementieva double faulted to lose her service game.
Both players traded breaks before Dementieva finally finished things off, converting her third set point when Sharapova hit a forehand into the net.
The second set was a little tamer, with both players holding serve until the sixth game. Sharapova fought off two break points but fired a forehand into the net on the third to hand Dementieva a 4-2 lead.
That was all Dementieva needed, as she held serve throughout and clinched her 14th career WTA Tour title when Sharapova's drop shot fell into the net on the third championship point.
It's the second straight year a Russian has won the Rogers Cup women's title, after Dinara Safina captured last year's championship in Montreal.
Dementieva takes home US$350,000 for the victory, while Sharapova pockets $175,000.