Safina to play Dementieva for gold; Djokovic wins bronze
Beijing, China (Sports Network) - It'll be an all-Russian affair in the women's singles title match at the Olympics after Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva won their semifinal contests on Saturday.
The sixth-seeded Safina overcame a doubles match loss that lasted until 3:35 a.m. the previous night to score a 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 win over Li Na of China. The singles match took 2 hours, 10 minutes to complete.
Dementieva, the fifth seed, dispatched ninth seed Vera Zvonareva, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) in another all-Russian semifinal. Dementieva will have a chance to win gold after capturing a silver eight years ago in Sydney.
In men's play, James Blake took out top seed Roger Federer on Thursday, but now the American will go home without any Olympic hardware after falling to Serbian Novak Djokovic in the bronze medal match, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
Friday night, Yan Zi teamed with Zheng Jie to beat Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova in a doubles match that went deep into the night, but Safina pulled through a day later to get a chance at Olympic gold.
"It was not easy," said Safina. "I didn't sleep enough. I'm just really happy that I could put all my energy into the match and pull the match out."
Safina took advantage of 69 unforced errors by Li to advance to play for the gold medal on Sunday. Safina also overcame 12 double faults, including four in the sixth game of the first set and the same in the fifth game of the second.
"It's unbelievable," said Dementieva of Russia being guaranteed a gold in women's singles. "It's a huge moment for our country and I'm sure all the fans in Russia will be happy about it."
Safina is 5-2 all-time against Dementieva.
Kuznetsova will play Li on Sunday for the bronze.
As for the eighth-seeded Blake, he blew up with a verbal attack on Fernando Gonzalez following their semifinal match on Friday, and a day later lost to the third-seeded Djokovic.
Twin brothers and No. 1 seeds Bob and Mike Bryan won the bronze medal in men's doubles, defeating France's Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
In women's doubles, the American sisters of Venus and Serena Williams are through to the final after beating Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
08/16 08:54:08 ET