She seems to be around for such a long time now. she's been a tour regular since mid 2002, doing great on clay, highlighted by her huge Sopot win, beating clay sepcialists as Schnyder, Serna and Nagyova en route.
she went from 10Ks and a rank of 451 to an amazing 83, beating 6 top50 players (including 14th seed Farina-Elia on carpet, after losing the first set 0-6).
she compiled a great 22-7 on the wtatour (including quallies) and really placed herself as a fast riser to be watched.
it's quite an amazing feature - she never got any of the hype other youngsters recieved - maybe because of other rising russians at the time.
thw 2003 expectations were a bit crushed - her slow movement and shot making still wasn't as developed as now - her serve wasn't consistent enough on the hard courts, and some misfurtune saw her drawing srebotnik at the Aussie open (32nd seed) Myskina at RG and molik on clay.
Perhaps micing up the order would have saw her causing huge upsets - but two big wins (world #13 Dementieva and World #11 Maleeva), as well as a title in palermo esteblished her place in the top100 and when an easy draw at the USopen was handed to her she would make the round of 16, losing to Jutsine Henin.
Her win/loss record wasn't as impressive - but the level od opponents she was handling went way up as well - and she would beat 7 top50 players - a sign of her abbilities against the better players on tour.
her dissapointing aussie runs were stopped bybeating world #16 Martinez and reaching the QF or gold coast. she would also beat amanda Coetzer en route to a 3rd round showing at the AO.
but all was reduced in compared to her Paris-indoors run. Untill then - two top20 wins in home soil at Moscow, as a WC hinted what would become her best run till then - Qualifying and Making it to the semis - losing once more to Clijsters, but not before Beating two top20 oplayers en route for the first time in her career - Schnyder and Schivaone. a few bad showings at the clay season ruined her chances for debut at the top30 - and she would reach the second round only in the french open - but lose the first round of Wimbledon, going 0-3 on the surface on the wtatour along a first round loss in eastbourne.
She had a very bad Clay season in her standards - going 4-6 and never winning 2 matches consecutivly on the surface - but a bad mid-season turned bright as dinara reached the indoor Luxembourg tourny final losing to Alicia Molik of Australia.
however - there was a feeling of a miss, having a great chance to win another clay tournament and possibly getting into the top20 with a couple of better shows on the us hardcourt season.
2005 started off in fantastic fashion - she would revenge three losses to Japan's Ai sugiyama at her first match of the season.
a Mediocre show at the aussie didn't look promising, as Safina returned to the sight of her best run till then - Paris Open Gaz the France.
and what do you know - She improved the feature by two rounds, winning the title and posting her first top10 win in the final against local girl Amelie Mauresmo.
the huge Tier2 title improved on her Tier3 title in Sopot, was followed by a mediocre tournies untill the clay season began - reaching the semis of estoril and winning her fourth title of her short career in Prague, a Tier IV event.
a tough draw against unseeded razzano bounced her out of a possible giant killing run at RG, and we are still to see how she can fair at the biggest clay event possible.
on grass however - things were starting to look much better - improving her 0% win ratio on grass to 4/5, reaching the third round in Wimbledon, losing to top seed Davenport. It was another dissapointing grand slam attempt at the USopen, losing the first round match, but SF appearances in Luxembourg, Moscow and Hasselt boosted her rankings into the top20, highlighting her Indoor career with the biggest win possible - defeating world #1 Sharapova in three sets.
At the moment it seems as though the toung russian is progressing very dteadily upwards, with her main strengths at the small clay events and the big indoor tournies.
That kind of combination leaves us with the aussie and us hardcourt seasons which she steadily improved, showing promising signs with her 4th round showing at the USO and a 3rd round at the AO.
a hard-court title is only a matter of time, and her improvment on grass this year was phenominal.
Her all-court success was also added to her doubles success, co-operating with spainush player Anabel Madinna Garrigues to reach 4 wtatour finals, winning a grass title in Hertsenboch. she also reached 4 Semifinals and won the decisive rubber with Dementieva in the fed-cup.
all in all i'd say she has an all-court game, she's growing very powerful yet can be very witty on court. her movement has improved alot, and her serve is really powerful.
she showed alot of spirit against Sharapova and Mauresmo, and proved she can do better.
If she can keep up the improvment this year - there is no reason she won't be the years Schnyder - consistently doing well on all surfaces and challenging the top10.
If she can do better in the aussie circuit - she can go as high as 13 or so, but obviously she will be dropping plenty of points after the Gaz de france tourny.
but really - from then on she has all to gain and little to lose, and by the USopen she could be a consistent top20 player, with more big wins under her belt and a great pressence on tour.
I really like her - She's probably the first youngster i started following (along Strycova who dissapeared in the meantime).
i liked her brother, i think she's great and could be a force to reckon.
She should do really well this year, challenging the upcoming teens with her experience. a little more consistency would help her a great deal. too many first round losses and second round dissapointments to players ranked much lower than her.
reached the QF or better the majority of her time should reflect her abbilities - but she has to improve that head.
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