Dementieva’s dreams shattered at first hurdle

ELENA DEMENTIEVA may well soon have the game to be world number one, but she will have to wait a bit longer to become Wimbledon champion.

The 22-year-old Russian raised expectations she could eclipse her best showings of the fourth round at SW19 by reaching the French Open last month. Taking her baseline game effectively onto grass is, though, another matter as she found out to her cost on court 18 this afternoon when she was beaten 6-4 1-6 6-4 by big-hitting Czech Sandra Kleinova.

"I did not have enough time to adjust to the new surface," said Dementieva, who was seeded six by the All England Club. "I felt I needed more time to prepare. I only came to Wimbledon on Monday and that was when I started playing on grass. It takes time to get 100%," she said.

It was, though, perhaps more the fact Dementieva sent down 11 double faults - including one when facing a match point and also won just 43% of her second-serve points which cost her the chance to push for another appearance in a Grand Slam final.

Kleinova, though, who injured her knee during the second set, believes the world number six is not far off becoming the complete player.

"Her baseline play, running and everything else is amazing," reflected the Czech, currently ranked 129 in the world. She has a really great game and if she could improve her serve, she could be the number one."

Kleinova was relieved to have finally booked a place in the second round at the All England Club here after so many disappointing first-round exits since making her debut in 1997.

"I have had such bad draws here all my life. I played Jana Novotna and Cara Black, all girls who are great on grass," she said. It was not the best of days for Russia, as number eight seed Svetlana Kuznetsova was also beaten 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-4 by Virginie Razzano of France.

Tenth seed Nadia Petrova needed three sets to get past Italy's Flavia Pennetta 6-3 2-6 6-4, but Elena Bovina, the number 20 seed, was given little problem against Romanian Edina Gallovits, coming through in straight sets 6-1 6-2.

Young Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova beat Samantha Reeves of the US 6-1 6-4, but American Chanda Rubin is out after the 17th seed was beaten 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 by Marion Bartoli of France.

Patty Schnyder, the 15th seed from Switzerland swept past Akiko Morigami of Japan 6-4 6-1.

Britain's Elena Baltacha, who beat Spaniard Marta Marrero, faces an anxious wait to see if she will be handed a dream second-round tie against Jennifer Capriati after the start of the two-time semi-finalist's match with Claudine Schaul was held over until today because of rain late in the afternoon.

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