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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yelena Wins Battle For Russia's Top Tennis Spot

Move over Anna Kournikova.

On Monday, Yelena Dementieva became Russia's top female tennis player, replacing Kournikova, who has held the country's No. 1 spot since 1997.

Despite having to withdraw from last week's Bausch and Lomb championships in Florida with a foot injury before her quarterfinal against Amelie Mauresmo, Dementieva moved ahead of Kournikova, who has been sidelined for several weeks with a stress fracture in her leg.

Dementieva now has 2,027 points, good for 11th place in the WTA rankings, one step above Kournikova with 1,974.

The 19-year-old Muscovite took the news in her stride.

"Being Russia's No. 1 changes little for me because my goal is to become No. 1 in the world," Dementieva said in a telephone interview from Florida at the weekend.

"I'm still only 19 and if I keep improving my game I think I have a chance to fulfill my dream."

The Olympic silver medallist said the injury would sideline her for a few weeks but promised to be fit for next month's French Open.

"I want to be totally healthy before I can play again," she said. "If you rush yourself, you can only make it worse."

Unlike Kournikova, who has turned down the chance to play for her native country on numerous occasions, Dementieva said she always relished the opportunity to represent Russia in international competitions.

"I always welcome the opportunity and I don't think it's too much of a burden to play once or twice a year for your country," she said.

"In fact, I will always remember playing for Russia in the Fed Cup final against the United States in September 1999. It was my debut playing singles in Fed Cup and that win against [Venus] Williams was the turning point in my tennis career."

Dementieva said playing Fed Cup matches in her new role of Russia's No. 1 would mean more responsibility, but that she could handle the pressure.

"I'm used to it because I played that role on the Russian junior team, so it's nothing new to me," she said, adding that she maintains friendly relations with all of her Russian teammates.

When asked about her relationship with Kournikova, Dementieva said: "We hardly see each other. I live in Moscow and she lives in the United States."