It's an All-Russian French Final

APAnastasia Myskina reacting after defeating Jennifer Capriati 6-2, 6-2 in their semifinal match of the French Open on Thursday.
PARIS -- Anastasia Myskina and Yelena Dementyeva won their French Open semifinals Thursday, setting up the first all-Russian women's Grand Slam final.

Myskina beat three-time Grand Slam winner Jennifer Capriati 6-2, 6-2, while Dementyeva overcame Paola Suarez 6,0, 7-5.

"I played smart today and won," Myskina said, adding that Capriati was "not at her best."

"She was doing a lot of unforced errors, so I let her do that," Myskina said.

The last Russian to reach a women's Grand Slam final was Dementyeva's coach, Olga Morozova -- the runner-up at Wimbledon in 1974. Natalia Zvereva, from Belarus, was runner-up at the 1988 French Open.

Both Russians are 22, and have known each other since they were 6 or 7. They took lessons from 2000 U.S. Open winner Marat Safin's mother as youngsters and have been doubles partners.

Myskina said she felt nervous on center court against Capriati.

"It's the pressure, it's the semifinal of the French Open," she said. "I really wanted to win the match and I knew I could do it. I was really nervous."

Against Myskina, Capriati was unable to duplicate the shotmaking that helped her beat Serena Williams. Coming up short in a bid for her second Roland Garros title, Capriati was impatient and sloppy against the No. 6-seeded Myskina.

"Just one of those days, you know?" No. 7 Capriati said. "I had no rhythm, no timing on my shots. They were flying."


Francois Mori / AP

Yelena Dementyeva celebrating after her 6-0, 7-5 defeat of Argentina's Paola Suarez.

The elimination of the 2001 champion was the latest in a series of surprises over the past two weeks at Roland Garros. Upsets sidelined Serena and Venus Williams and defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne, and No. 2-ranked Kim Clijsters missed the tournament with an injured wrist. It's the first time in four years that all four players were absent from a Grand Slam semifinal.

But the breakthrough by Russian women is not a surprise. On the WTA Tour, they have 10 players ranked among the top 43 and five of the top 13.

Whether it was nerves or a hangover from her quarterfinal victory over Serena, Capriati started poorly and never improved. She lost 17 of the first 22 points, fell behind 3-0, won consecutive games, but then served badly to lose the final game of the set.

"I was really nervous," Myskina said. "Maybe Jennifer was as well, but something was wrong with her, definitely."

Myskina, who beat Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, again rose to the occasion and overcame her jitters. Wispy but agile and versatile, she moved well and kept Capriati on the defensive with an impressive array of shots.

Capriati said her rhythm was thrown off by the pace of Myskina's shots -- much slower than groundstrokes hit by, say, Serena Williams.

On the first match point, Myskina smacked a return winner cross-court to complete the victory. She calmly walked to the net to shake hands, then patted her racket strings, and that was the extent of her center-court celebration.

"I'm really surprised that I'm still in Paris," Myskina said.

She and Dementyeva are first-time Grand Slam finalists.

"We do everything together, and we're pretty good friends," Myskina said, adding with a smile, "I hope."

The inexperience of No. 9 Dementyeva and the No. 14-seeded Suarez on such a big occasion was reflected in their shaky play. There were 17 double-faults, 12 service breaks, 69 unforced errors and just 25 winners.

Dementyeva started well and was steadier at the end, winning the final three games.

"It's incredible," she said. "It was always my dream to play a Roland Garros final. I'm so happy."