Both of them have brothers who won a slam
Safina battles through
DINARA Safina struggled to find her rhythm early but eventually battled through to the second round of the WTA Paris Open today, beating Michaella Krajicek 6-4 7-5.
- <LI class=byline>By Barnaby Chesterman in Paris
- February 06, 2007
In a clash between two sisters of considerably more famous tennis-playing brothers, a solitary break of serve in each set sufficed to send the No.7 seed from Russia through at the expense of the Dutchwoman.
Safina, who was champion in Paris in 2005, made the most of a loose ninth game from Krajicek before serving out for the set at the first opportunity.
The second set followed a similar pattern but this time it was a poor 11th game from Krajicek that handed her opponent another break and Safina served out the match despite dropping to 15-30 in the final game.
The Russian has been in fine form this year, claiming the Gold Coast title last month by beating Martina Hingis in the final.
"This was a tough first round, she's a good player and I lost to her the last time," Safina said.
"I tried to stay focused and just play my game."
Safina won a thrilling three-set battle against world No.3 and home favourite Amelie Mauresmo in 2005 before the Frenchwoman claimed the title for the second time last year.
"This tournament has always been good for me. The first time I came here I reached the semi-finals," added Safina.
"The people working here are very nice so it feels like a little family and it's really nice to always come back here."
The Russian was the biggest name playing on the opening day and did not let the centre stage get to her, upping her game at the vital moments in both sets.
Belgian world No.2 Justine Henin-Hardenne is the top seed and both she and Mauresmo, who have first round byes, are due to launch their campaigns either tomorrow or Thursday.
Henin is playing in her first tournament since pulling out of last month's Australian Open because of her split from husband Pierre-Yves Hardenne.
Eight of the world's top 13 players are competing in Paris, including a strong Russian presence comprising five of the top eight seeds.