Elena Dementieva moves into final 16 at U.S. Open

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Number 11 seed Elena Dementieva recovered from a first-set slump to continue her strong record against Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova with 7-5 6-2 win Friday.

Elena Dementieva of Russia serves during her match against Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 3, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

It was the 16th career meeting in a decade between the two and the Russian took her tally of wins against Hantuchova to 12 on Arthur Ashe Stadium and earned a spot in the fourth round.

After days of clear skies and intense heat, there were a few spots of rain as the match began.

Dementieva elected to receive serve and the move paid off as she moved into a 2-0 lead before her game temporarily fell apart.

Her previously clean, crisp shots from the back of the court evaporated as she over-reached for her big groundstrokes and Hantuchova raced away with five unanswered games.

Dementieva finally stopped the rot when facing three set points to move within two games of Hantuchova, who still looked on course to win the set.

But the rain returned, a little heavier this time, and the players were taken off court for a few minutes .

Hantuchova appeared to have lost her rhythm and conceded her break advantage with two consecutive double faults.

Dementieva, eyeing her chance, turned the screw with increasingly confident play from the back of the court to level the set before breaking her opponent again and comfortably serving out the set.

Both players seemed utterly incapable of holding serve as the second set opened with three consecutive breaks.

Dementieva was the first to hold but more because of Hantuchova’s faltering play, which enabled her rival to round off the third-round contest with ease.

Editing by Frank Pingue; To query or comment on this story email