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Meeek
Apr 14th, 2006, 05:55 PM
Family Circle Cup
Dinara Safina defeats Julia Vakulenko
6-7 (8-6), 6-2, 6-2
3rd Round

AMY BINDER: Questions for Dinara, please.

Q. Very, very tough first set. Can you tell me about coming into a match against a woman who you know has already knocked off a seed and kind of probably has a mental kind of advantage there?

DINARA SAFINA: I mean the first set, I mean I don't know. It was a nightmare, you know. 4-0 up, 5-3, 5-4, 0-40. What else, 5-1 on a tiebreak, you know. I mean it was not me on the court first set. I think it was somebody else.

Q. After having a set like that, how do you kind of stay mentally tough and then come back and win that second set 6-2 and go ahead and finish it off?

DINARA SAFINA: Nothing else what I could do. I was just I mean stay there and try to find your game, you know, just try to make her run, play her extra ball, and keep fighting. That was what -- I think the fighting was the most important thing today especially.

Q. And I was going to say, in terms of it seemed like you kind of broke her there towards the end in that last set. Was there any one point where you felt like you had her or I mean was she the kind of person that you can't --

DINARA SAFINA: I think when I did 2-2, when I broke her for 3-2, I think that I was like, okay, now just keep going like this.

Q. In terms of how that match went for you, was there anything you can pinpoint about that first set that you can make sure you avoid in your next match?

DINARA SAFINA: I mean everything I can say, I don't know. It was strange, you know. I was 4-0 up, and suddenly I mean I just – I don't know. It's like it just went 4-4, and then it started to like complicate the match, you know, and 5-1 on a tiebreaker. I mean I just -- next match I have to just

forget the first set. That's all. I have nothing positive from the first set.
Q. Dinara, I don't think you'd ever played her before. She was a qualifier coming in with nothing to lose, and were you walking into kind of an unknown today?

DINARA SAFINA: No. I knew her from before. I know her. She was also living in Spain, you know. So I know her pretty well, but that was not the case that she's qualifier. I mean you play against not the qualifier ranking. You play against the player. You know, she's a player. She beat the good players. So I think it was my head.

Q. That was the other thing I was going to ask. In terms of how you keep yourself from thinking, oh, she just qualified, and you know, thinking that you have an advantage?

DINARA SAFINA: I don't have -- if the girl -- doesn’t matter if she's qualifier or if she's -- she won qualifying, she won two matches. Then she won two matches in the main draw. She beat a seeded player, and I know Jankovic. I know she's a player, and I knew this. It doesn't mean she doesn't know how to play, but the problem was she's at 4-0, I made her -- at the beginning like I was
dictating what I have to do, but then she started to dictate what she wants. You know, that's why it was different.

Q. The difference there in what you wanted to do and what she wanted to do, you seemed to be, you know, going for power, and she couldn't really stay with you with the power game. Is that the way
you feel like you always need to play or --

DINARA SAFINA: Yeah. It's, you know, it's a little bit of everything, you know. I had to mix it up a little today. I had to make her run around the court, you know. So I had to do a lot because when she stays in the play, she hits the ball really hard. I mean her balls go like really flat and fast, you know. That was difficult for me at one point, you know. But I just had to make her don't play three times in the same place, just always make her run. Thank you.

AMY BINDER: Thank you.