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Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 12:57 UK

Dementieva v Petrova as it happened

Women's singles quarter-finals result:

E DEM'VA (Rus) 5 bt v N PETROVA (Rus) 21

6-1 6-7 (6-8) 6-3

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By Tom Fordyce at Wimbledon

Dementieva 6-3 Petrova
Despite fluffing over second serves at 69mph, Demen goes to 40-15 and two match points - and a forehand whipped cross-court finally ends the misery. Even a half-asleep Venus should have her for breakfast in Thursday's semi. Good Lord.

Dementieva 5-3 Petrova
Petrova stays alive as Elena shakes so badly she can barely hold her racquet. Dementieva now has the chance to serve for the match for the third time. Let's see.

Dementieva 5-2 Petrova
Does Petrova seize her lifeline and make the most of it? Of course not - she blasts two more dreadful forehands so long that one of them is still yet to bounce. Dementieva is so chokey that her first serves are plopping across the net at 82mph, but Petrova to returning so badly that she couldn't get a party invite back.

Dementieva 4-2 Petrova
0-30 on the Petrova serve as she does her best to throw away her chance. Instead it's Demen who carries on blowing her lead, losing the next four points to carry on taking on water like the Poseidon.

Dementieva 4-1 Petrova
At 40-15, Dem is coasting at 40-15, and it's then that the little demons come a'calling. She cracks a backhand into the net, squeals a "whoo-hah!" like Busta Rhymes on helium and then double-faults at break point to invite Petrova back into the match. Shambolic. Why don't they just take it in turns shoving custard pies into their own faces?

Dementieva 4-0 Petrova
Sure enough, it's now Petrova's turn to fall apart like a Twiglet tree-house. The crowd seem almost embarrassed to applaud - it's like clapping when someone trips over their shoelaces.

Dementieva 3-0 Petrova
Petrova's forehand is now as ugly as a troll's buttocks. She batters long and wide and Dem holds the break, and goes to her seat to place an ice-pack in the back of her perspiring neck. Centre Court now almost full, and we've been going for just over two hours.

Dementieva 2-0 Petrova
"Who's your money on?" asks the chap next to me. "The Russian," I think to myself. Petrova is worked over by Demen and is in trouble at 15-40, and when a lame tapper of a backhand yawns into the net, she's a break down again. No need to worry until it's 5-0, though.

Dementieva 1-0 Petrova
Right - what's going to happen next? Demen has just spent five minutes on a courtesy break, probably banging her head repeatedly against the cistern. She forces her way to 40-15 with a big ace wide and then drops off to allow Petro to pull up to deuce, only to hang on with unfamiliar determination.

SECOND SET

Dementieva 6-7 Petrova
Petrova slaps a forehand into the net and clutches her forehand with her hands, desperately trying to quieten the demons who lurk within. Her next forehand finds the tip of the T - maybe she should clutch some more. Her next goes wide - I did warn you. 4-2 Demen, until further serve flakiness makes it 4-3. Four points against the serve so far. Petro then falters at the net with a half-volley to go 5-3 down, holds serve for 5-4 and goes long to stare down the nose of two match points. A raking cross-courter forehand saves one, and a wafter long from Demen saves the other. Heads shake around Centre. Petrova then suddenly hits her straps to play her best two points of the match to grab the set and draw level.

Madness.

Dementieva 6-6 Petrova
The lesson of this match seems to be this: trust nothing, trust no-one. Dementieva looks to have got her head straight when she breezes to 40-0, only to then fall apart again to ship three points on the trot and fall back to deuce. Good Elena then takes over from Bad Elena to polish off the game and take us into the tie-break.

Dementieva 5-6 Petrova
Demen is like a boxer who, with her right hand swinging to administer the knockout blow, smacks herself on the nose instead. She loses a fifth straight game and must now hold to stay in the set.

Dementieva 5-5 Petrova
Roll up, roll up - come and see the amazing collapsing Russians. See them effortlessly bash forehands long. Marvel at the way they freeze at the slightest hint of a semi-final. It's got so bad that when Petrova belts a spare ball into the ground it bounces up and knocks her sun-visor off.

Dementieva 5-4 Petrova
The pair of them are now competing in some sort of bizarre collapsathon. Demen is hitting the ball with all the confidence of a parachuteless sky-diver.

Dementieva 5-3 Petrova
Brief hope flowers for Petro as Dementieva wavers with her nose on the finishing line, backhanding netwards and then crashing one wide to give her opponent a shock break point. With her first serve suddenly as useful as a custard racquet, she double-faults woefully to hand Petrova her first break and a shock life-line.

Dementieva 5-2 Petrova
The only good thing that's come out of this match for Petrova is a sun-tan. She delays the inevitable with a lusty forehand past a skidding Demen.

Dementieva 5-1 Petrova
Dear oh dear. Embarrassing now for poor old Petrova, who feebly dumps two backhands into the net with all the skill of a blindfolded Bogdanovic.

Dementieva 4-1 Petrova
Double-break woe now for Petrova. There's some argument around me as to who's to blame - the line-judge for his po-faced call, or Petro for collapsing like a house made from Jacob's crackers. I say the line-judge, mainly because people with his sort of attitude have ruined many a round of golf for me. Since when were corduroys not "trousers"?

Dementieva 3-1 Petrova
Monkey or hippo - if Petro doesn't stop making unforced errors, she's toast either way.

Dementieva 2-1 Petrova
Bang on the line for Petro as she cracks a open-stance forehand down the line, and two boomers to either side finally get the monkey off her back. Never quite sure where that phrase comes from - whilst it's clearly hard to do much with a monkey on your back, it's a whole lot harder with, say, a hippo.

Dementieva 2-0 Petrova
Acer out wide from Elena - her third - to cruise to 30-15, but as she wanders slowly to the net Petro drills a cross-court backhand past her nose. A double-fault sets up break point, but after a mighty slug-fest from the baseline Petro flails a forehand into the net, and Demen breezes onwards.

Dementieva 1-0 Petrova
They do say that Petrova is shaky mentally - you can only hope she never gets together with Richard Gasquet, for they'd have children so flaky that the mere snap-crackle-pop of their morning cereal would be enough to send them running back to their beds in tears. More forehand errors serve up two more break points for her opponent, and a raking backhand from Elena makes it six games in a row.

FIRST SET

Dementieva 6-1 Petrova
Ripper of a forehand down the line from Demen to go to set point, and when Petro clunks an angry forehand into the train-tracks the set is Elena's. 13 unforced errors from Petrova in that opener, with just six from Demen. Still as many clouds overhead as there were British women in the third round.

Dementieva 5-1 Petrova
Four games in a row now for Dem, with the last three games rattled through in six minutes less than the first three. Petrova's still chuntering about that foot-fault, which seemed to presage her decline. The line-judge in question stares out from beneath his 1920's flat cap with the retro-insouciance of Robert Redford in The Sting.

Dementieva 4-1 Petrova
I wouldn't fancy my chances of getting into a night-club if that line-judge was on the door. What a stickler. Demen stays strong to open the gap.

Dementieva 3-1 Petrova
Collector's item on the Petro serve - a foot-fault called for crossing the centre line, rather than the baseline. She stares at the accusing line-judge and allows it to rattle her, puting away two double-faults and a slap-happy forehand to ship the first break. Interesting replay - if that was a foot-fault, it was a foot-fault by the width of flea's toe-nail.

Dementieva 2-1 Petrova
A soft breeze stirs the skirts as Petrova scampers in again to volley with the alacrity of Edberg. A dodgy double-fault drags Dem to deuce, with a lofty backhand sailing long to offer up a break-point - saved when Petrova goes too aggressive from behind the baseline and finds the divider. Petro then meets net again with a forehand, and Demen has held. 19 minutes on the clock already. A dapper chap in the crowd wearing a panama hat with dark green band plus a bow-tie as large as a tropical butterfly turns to the lady on his left and raises a silvery eyebrow.

Dementieva 1-1 Petrova
Wobbles too for Pet, and at 15-40 she's listing like a leaky dinghy. She then fires in a lovely deep backhand approach and comes in at pace to dash away a volley to get to deuce, only for a slap-forehand to boom long. Angered by her error, she clouts the sole of her shoe with her swinging racquet and tries not to wince. Another punchy volley at the net takes her level and draws a ripple of applause from the half-empty Centre.

Dementieva 1-0 Petrova
Early wobbles for Demen as her cranky serve splutters into life. Petrova has an early break point but flops a forehand into the net, and when a dinky dropper falls wide Elena's on the board. Both these players born in Moscow, both now live in Monte Carlo. What is it about the Mediterranean coast that Moscow in winter can't match?

1306: Both players opting for the classic white tennis dress, Elena's a touch strappy and Nadia's cap-sleeved. White sun-visors tugged down low over both foreheads.

1301: Out come the players, strolling slowly onto court and blinking in the bright sunshine. Petrova's not showing any signs of exhaustion despite her three-set mixed doubles defeat with Tursunov late last night - not yet, anyway. Demen calls correctly at the coin-toss and chooses to serve first.

1250: Phew - what a scorcher. It's so warm down here today that my keyboard's melting into a sticky tar-like mess. It's the all-Russian quarter-final up first; Elena Dementieva will start as slight favourite against compatriot Nadia Petrova. If you're still a little weary after last night's Murray madness, don't worry - so are we. All worth it, of course.


see also
Live - Wimbledon day eight
01 Jul 08 |  Tennis
Women's singles latest
23 May 08 |  Tennis


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