Safina books all-Russian final
Dementieva joins compatriot in battle for gold
Last Updated: 16/08/08 4:34pm
Safina on her way through
Elena Dementieva will take on Dinara Safina in an all-Russian women's tennis final in Beijing after the pair claimed straight sets wins on Saturday.
Sixth seed Safina ended the giant-killing run of home hope Li Na with a thrilling 7-6 7-5 success, while the fifth-ranked Dementieva beat compatriot Vera Zvonareva 6-3 7-6.
Safina bagged an early break against Na but three double faults in one game allowed the Chinese star to draw level at 3-3.
A further exchange of breaks saw the set go to a tie-break, where the Russian soon asserted her authority for a 5-1 lead before closing it out 7-3.
Na, who had defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova and Venus Williams in earlier rounds, claimed a break early in the second set but this time it was Safina who broke back and when the Chinese served to stay in the match at 5-6, she capitulated to hand the Russian a place in the final.
Dementieva will bid to go one better than in Sydney in 2000, where she picked up a silver medal, after beating Zvonareva - a late replacement for the injured Maria Sharapova.
Earlier, Venus and Serena Williams teamed up to reach the final of the women's doubles with a 6-4 4-6 6-1 victory over Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko.
The Williams, who claimed gold in Sydney eight years ago, blew away their opponents from Ukraine in the final set after the match looked poised for a tense finale.
"There's no temptation to celebrate yet," Serena said. "We always want to go for the highest peak.
"I have a lot of space for (a gold medal). Hopefully I can get it. Hopefully we'll be able to and I'll be able to show people a new one."
The sisters will take on Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain in the final, after they defeated Chinese pairing Yan Zi and Zheng Jie 6-4 7-6 (7-5).