MOSCOW, Oct 15 (Reuters) After winning her maiden Kremlin Cup title on Sunday, Elena Dementieva's thoughts soon turned to next year's Beijing Olympics.
''Playing in the Olympics is my big goal for next year,'' Dementieva told reporters after beating former world number one Serena Williams 5-7 6-1 6-1 in the Moscow final yesterday.
''That's why this year I've made a special effort to go and play in Beijing, just to see for myself what the atmosphere is going to be like next year.'' The Russian, who turns 26 today, lost to another former world number one Lindsay Davenport in the quarter-finals of last month's China Open in Beijing.
''I know it won't be easy to qualify but I'm determine to give it my best shot,'' she added.
Only four top players from each country are eligible to take part in the Olympics in the singles and the top two pairs in the doubles. With so many talented Russian women fighting for a spot, Dementieva, who is world ranked number 14, has her work cut out.
Four other Russians, world number two Svetlana Kuznetsova, number four Maria Sharapova, Anna Chakvetadze (6) and Nadia Petrova (10), are currently ranked higher than her.
Dementieva, who has fond memories from the 2000 Games in Sydney where she won the silver medal at the age of 18, has come second best a number of times in her career.
She lost both of her grand slam finals she contested in 2004, at the French Open and US Open to compatriots Anastasia Myskina and Kuznetsova respectively, in addition to losing the Olympic final to Venus Williams.
Reuters TB RS0941