PARIS (AP) — Top-seeded Elena Dementieva rallied to defeat Melanie Oudin 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 Saturday and reach the final of the Open GDF Suez for the second straight year.
"I'm really happy to get through after such a difficult match," Dementieva said. "She is a real fighter and it's probably the most difficult win of the year for me."
After winning two Fed Cup matches to give the United States a 4-1 win over France last week, Oudin defeated three players with higher rankings in Paris.
"I put pressure on myself because I know what I'm capable of," Oudin said. "I don't like losing at all. Losing is not good enough for me."
Dementieva, who lost to Amelie Mauresmo in last year's final, was stopped by Oudin in the second round at the U.S. Open. She led 3-1 in the opening set before losing four consecutive games.
The seventh-ranked Russia broke back in the ninth game but lost her next service game.
After trading breaks, Dementieva went 4-3 up in the second set when Oudin committed two consecutive unforced forehand errors. The 28-year-old Russian then broke Oudin in the ninth game to take the set.
Dementieva made the decisive break in the sixth game of the third set with a forehand winner that hit the net before landing on her opponent's side. Dementieva closed out the match with a backhand drop volley.
Oudin made a captivating run to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open. The 18-year-old from Marietta, Ga., says she's just trying to stay focused.
"I know people are hoping I'm the next up-and-coming American but I don't read any of that, the blogs, the press, what anyone says," Oudin said. "I just focus on myself and I already have my own goals. That's what I'm concentrating on."
Safarova converted her only break point of the third set against Pennetta in the ninth game and served out the match at love.
"We both played very well and fought for every point, so I was very happy to win it," Safarova said. "It was about two or three points in the end."