Myskina wins Russian duel, French Open

Sunday, June 6, 2004

PARIS -- Anastasia Myskina knows how it feels to fight herself more than her opponent. She knows how it feels to get so frustrated that the urge rises to toss a racket or scream or even just give up.

And now, in part because Elena Dementieva struggled with such thoughts in the French Open final, Myskina knows how it feels to be a Grand Slam champion.

Myskina beat her countrywoman and friend 6-1, 6-2 Saturday at Roland Garros with solid play, steady resolve -- and plenty of help from Dementieva's 33 unforced errors, including 10 double-faults.

"I was really emotional. I was really nervous, as well," Myskina said. "And I think, um, Elena was nervous more."

In keeping with the surprising nature of the past two weeks, the sixth-seeded Myskina became the first Russian woman to win a major title. And she did so at a tournament where she had never been past the second round, going 1-4.

It helped that the Williams sisters have been hampered by injuries and lack of matches. And that defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne lost in the second round after missing six weeks with a viral infection. And that 2001 and 2003 French Open runner-up Kim Clijsters withdrew because of a bad wrist.

Still, Myskina earned her silver trophy and $1.02 million check.

Today's men final will be an all-Argentine final between No. 3 Guillermo Coria and unseeded Gaston Gaudio.

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