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enchantrezz Aug 5th, 2008 04:30 AM

News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara
And a Russian Cat Shall Lead Them by Todd Spiker - Aug 04, '08

A few months ago, everyone was wondering which player would benefit most from Justine Henin's sudden retirement from the sport.

Everyone from Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova to Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic was mentioned as a potential beneficiary, and most top players (but hardly all) HAVE indeed experienced gains helped at least in some small part by the gaping hole left in any draw that would have otherwise included La Petit Taureau. But no one really singled out Dinara Safina as one of the women who might see her career results spark in the post-Henin era.

How stupid were we? Considering the Russian Cat was the last player to actually defeat Henin, in Berlin, the tennis Gods couldn't have made the clue much more blatant. I'm sure They're making all sorts of "mortal" jokes even as I speak.

Thing is, Safina is suddenly the hottest player on tour. Her win in Montreal gave her back-to-back titles, a U.S. Open Series championship, a new career-high rank of #7, a 27-3 record dating back to the spring and the honor of easily being dubbed the current "best Russian female tennis player in the world"... even if the rankings don't necessarily back it up. Yet.

After knocking off the likes of Henin and Serena to win in Berlin, then surviving match points in multiple matches en route to the Roland Garros final and coming back from the edge of defeat once again to win a title in Los Angeles a week ago, Safina "took it easy" in Quebec. Her two three-setters last week came in matches against Svetlana Kuznetsova and Victoria Azarenka, but she never found herself walking "The Green Mile" in the same way she's been doing off-and-on the last few months, and then Dominika Cibulkova was but a shadow of her Top 10er-conquering self in the final.

As the Olympic tournament gets under way in Beijing less than a week from now. Safina's name will have to be thrown into the ring as a potential favorite to walk away with a Gold Medal, even while she's still something of an "anonymous" Hordette and many sports fans around the world (and ESPN broadcasters, no doubt) likely remain more familiar with her brother than her.

"She's Marat's sister? But her name's Safina, not Safin. I'm confused, mommy. My head hurts." (And that's just a comment overheard in the White House.)

They say the fish rots from the head (amazingly, no, that is not a Bush joke), but what's to be made of a tennis player who's career seems to have turned around as soon as she got her head screwed on tightly in spite of the odds against it happening to someone in her athletic family? But what else do you expect in a sport where Miss Jankovic is soon to be the #1-ranked player?

enchantrezz Aug 6th, 2008 03:51 AM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara
Safina Becomes heavy favorite for Olympic Gold

Special report: 2008 Olympic Games
BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Russia's world No. 7 Dinara Safina has become a heavy favorite for the Beijing Olympic tennis event as she beat Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-1 to claim the Montreal Cup on Sunday and her second title in a row.
Safina, who is enjoying one of the most productive runs of her career, needed just one hour and eight minutes to beat unseeded Cibulkova. Last week, she claimed a WTA title in Los Angeles.
"I think my experience helped me a bit in the final, I'm sure Dominika's time will come soon though," an elated Safina told the WTA official website.
"It's the first time in my life I have won tournaments back-to-back, Usually I would win a tournament and the next week I would lose in the first round.
"So I was happy when I won the first match and then I was just taking it one match at a time."
Safina becomes the fourth player this season to win three Tour singles titles, following Maria Sharapova (Australian Open, Doha and Amelia Island), Serena Williams (Bangalore, Miami and Charleston) and Agnieszka Radwanska (Pattaya City, Istanbul and Eastbourne).
She has 28 wins and just three losses in the past three months. During that stretch she defeated nine players ranked in the top 10.
Safina will compete in the Olympic tennis event slated for Aug. 10-17 with compatriots Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva and Vera Zvonareva.
Russia has just lost world number four Maria Sharapova due to her shoulder injury.

enchantrezz Aug 6th, 2008 06:52 AM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara
July is Over, and the Olympics are Almost Here... do you know where your Russians are? by Todd Spiker

Since Venus Williams won her fifth Wimbledon title a month ago, the WTA tour has been little more than a hot mess.

With the travel needed for a player to maintain a presence on the "road trip" that is the U.S. Open Series, just a few weeks after two European slams were contested over such a short span of time, the WTA schedule is hardly amenable to the multiple appearances that the Powers That Be in tennis annually hope will stir up heightened interest in the sport during the latter stages of the North American summer (well, at least it's difficult for anyone without the initials J.J. to pull it off). This season, with the Olympics taking place on the other side of the world right in the middle of the North American season, just two weeks before the start of the Open itself in New York on August 25, things were even more scattershot than usual. As it turned out, most of the top players only put in cameo appearances (if even that, considering the three '08 slam winners have played a combined total of three matches since play ceased at SW19) on tour.

Venus and Davenport never played. Serena did, but was injured. Sharapova was already injured, but didn't find out about it until after she played one match (whoops, there goes the Supernova's Olympic and Open aspirations for this season). Ivanovic returned to her early-out pre-Roland Garros title self last week, while fellow Serb Jelena Jankovic played when she probably shouldn't have, possibly setting herself up for even more drama (for good and bad) over the next few weeks.

In the interim, a string of newbies (some Z-Team members, some not) managed to become first-time finalists, maiden titlists and Top 20ers when several of the draws were thinned. But one thing WAS consistent in a noteworthy way -- the play of Dinara Safina. Normally, that might not be a good thing for the Russian Cat, but ever since she ended Justine Henin's career in April on the clay in Berlin she's been as difficult an out as there is on the entire WTA landscape.

She won on clay in May (reaching the RG final), then carried things over to the grass in June (reaching another final). In July, she was unstoppable on hard courts. For the first time since she won her first career title at age 16 back in 2002, Safina is showing the talent, temperament and intelligence that she looked as if she might possess when she was among the first of the Russian Horde to make inroads on the tour. Back-to-back titles in L.A. and Montreal crowned her U.S. Open Series champ, and sends her to Beijing as the hottest player on tour.

2008 has been an unpredictable season, for sure. There have been four different #1 players and three different slam champions, and there's a good possibility that both those numbers could swell even more by the end of the season. Good luck determining who's going to be the "Player of the Year" come November.

**TOP PLAYERS** July-Aug
1. Dinara Safina, RUS your heart out, Marat.
2. Sara Errani, ITA
...she pulled a "mini-Safina," winning back-to-back titles on a smaller scale in Europe.
3. Cara Black & Liezel Huber, ZIM/USA
...I sure hope they can win in New York, so I can stop bringing up how they've won just about everything this season EXCEPT for a grand slam title.
4. Alize Cornet, FRA
...she threw everything against the wall in Budapest, and it finally stuck.
5. Aleksandra Wozniak, CAN
...what a novel concept: a Canadian WTA singles champion.
HM- Caroline Wozniacki, DEN & Pauline Parmentier, FRA
...C-Woz was one of four first-time champions over the past month, while Parmentier actually won her SECOND career title in less than a year. Really, she HAS won two titles. Look it up.

Dinayer Aug 6th, 2008 09:14 AM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara
thanks for the news :D

tejmeglekvár Aug 6th, 2008 11:55 AM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara
D. SAFINA/S. Kuznetsova
2-6, 6-3, 6-2

An interview with: DINARA SAFINA


Q. When the crowd was cheering for you, does it help you to come back?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, I think they were cheering for both. But I think they just wanted to have some more tennis. So even I was 2-0 down, they just wanted that match stays a little bit longer. I think they just help me to pump myself and give all what I have for them.

Q. What changed after that first set?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, I think first set she was just playing very good tennis. I still didn't speak with my coaches about maybe I was doing something wrong - not wrong, but maybe not enough. But then she was a break up, 2-Love. There she gave some I would say free points that made me to come back. After that, the match started to be close for both. I would say today, I mean, the luck was on my side.

Q. Did the warning for the unsportsmanlike conduct have any impact on you? You only lost three points after that.

DINARA SAFINA: Well, it's a fair one. First of all, I almost hit her head, and I almost hit the people. So if I would hit somebody on the stands, I would be suspended. But I was just very angry with, I don't know, like I'm trying my best, but still like something is missing. And I wanted just to explore my emotions. Okay, I went a little bit too much. That was too risky.

Q. Did that allow to you calm down?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, I know that I cannot do more because second warning is penalty point. But actually after that I started to play better, so there was no need to maybe express more my emotions.

Q. Can you talk about your dropshot. You seem to be one of the few people who consistently does it.

DINARA SAFINA: Well, actually in the third set I overdo them because then she was already reading my dropshots when I would hit them. So that was actually a little bit wrong play. Well, I like to vary my game, to play fast and sometimes use the touch. So that's what I'm working because I know many players would not maybe expect when I have easy shot that I might use a dropshot because I also can hit the ball. So I just try to make them think.

Q. Why do you think so few women include that shot on a regular basis?

DINARA SAFINA: They don't include?

Q. Yes.

DINARA SAFINA: Well, I don't know. You have to ask them.

Q. Considering how well you've been playing for the last two months, when you enter a tournament, has your mindset changed at all as to your chances of winning and how you approach each opponent? Has your confidence level changed at all?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, I just go on the court and I take every opponent hundred percent serious. As I always say, there is no easy opponents because everyone gonna give their hundred percent to beat me. I respect them all. I try to go on the court and give my hundred percent and let's see who's gonna be stronger that day.


the bolded part, just... :spit:

enchantrezz Aug 6th, 2008 12:00 PM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Originally Posted by dzsump3r (Post 13776644)
DINARA SAFINA: Well, it's a fair one. First of all, I almost hit her head, and I almost hit the people. So if I would hit somebody on the stands, I would be suspended. But I was just very angry with, I don't know, like I'm trying my best, but still like something is missing. And I wanted just to explore my emotions. Okay, I went a little bit too much. That was too risky.

Q. Did that allow to you calm down?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, I know that I cannot do more because second warning is penalty point. But actually after that I started to play better, so there was no need to maybe express more my emotions.


the bolded part, just... :spit:

:haha::haha:its in the genes !!!

enchantrezz Aug 7th, 2008 04:56 PM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara
US Open Predictions: the Women By: D.K. Wilson 08/08/08

The Olympic Summer Games are serving as a break in the summer portion of both the ATP and WTA Tours. With that in mind, now is as good a time as any to give my US Open predictions and give some player analysis for both the men and the women.Maria Sharapova was the 2006 US Open women’s champion and is #3 in the world. However, Maria was forced out of the Rogers Cup with two strained tendons in her right shoulder after her first match in the Montreal tournament. The injury will force Sharapova to miss not only the Olympics but the Open as well.

This is not the first time Sharapova has had to take time off the tour with shoulder problems and the chronic nature of her injuries to that part of her body must be dealt with in full this time around. Persistent shoulder problems are nothing to play with for a tennis player and could cut her career short if she rushes her rehab or does not adequately strengthen the muscles in and around the area of the strained tendons.

Without Sharapova, who loves the quick US Open hardcourts, there are a host of women who have a chance to hoist the trophy at the tournament’s end.

Friday in the quarterfinals of the Roger’s Cup in Montreal, Jelena Jankovic squandered a 5-1 first set lead to Dominika Cibulkova. From that point on it appeared that the thought of becoming the world’s #1 with a victory against the #31 player forced Jankovic to choke mightily. Though this was match her fourth such opportunity to take over the top spot, Jankovic handled the chance poorly. The #2 player in the world won only two more games after that 5-1 lead and went away meekly to Cibulkova, 7-5 6-2.

Jelena is trying to overtake her Serbian countrywoman Ana Ivanovic for the top spot in the women’s game, and her next opportunity will be in Flushing Meadows, New York, the site of the US Open. Ivanovic, the Wimbledon finalist, took a month off after losing unexpectedly in the third round of Wimbledon to Jie Zheng of China and has appeared rusty since her return.

At the Rogers she looked erratic in her first match against Petra Kvitova but hung on to win, 6-3 4-6 6-3. Ivanovic had a difficult time closing out the match due to some shoddy and perhaps nervous footwork. As a result, her usually booming groundstrokes let her down. The Kvitova match was a portent for the future as Ivanovic was upset in her next match, a round of 16 loss to little-known Austrian Tamira Paszek, 6-2 1-6 6-2.

Now Ivanovic must go to Beijing and hope to get in enough match play there to regain her form from earlier in the season when she won the French Open title. The Flushing Meadows hardcourts should be kind to her big serve and equally big groundies. But Ivanovic will have to handle the pressure of being number one and having every player she faces give their best effort to have that upset of the world’s #1 as a notch in their belts.

Svetlana Kuznetsova is #4 in the world but has had an up and down 2008 campaign. Sveta’s best grand slam result was on clay at the French Open where she lost in the semis to Dinara Safina. Kuznetsova was a heavy favorite in that match and had a chance to move to number one with a win.

Safina crushed her, 6-3 6-2.

At the Rogers Cup Sveta advanced to the quarterfinals but was again taken down by Safina, 2-6 6-3 6-2. Kuznetsova is a former US Open winner (2004 over fellow Russian Elena Dementieva 6-3 7-5) and was last year’s runner-up to Justine Henin.

Two of the most dangerous players in the women’s Open draw are, of course, Venus and Serena Williams. Serena has played one tournament since her finals appearance at Wimbledon. Though she reached the semifinals in the Bank of the West Classic she was forced to withdraw with an injury top her left knee while in the midst of easily handling Aleksandra Wozniak, 6-2 3-1.

Serena won the Open in 1999, was a finalist in 2001 (to Venus), and won again in 2002 but has not gone farther than the quarterfinals in her other seven appearances at Flushing Meadows.

Serena can blow anyone off the court if she is serving well and is confident from the baseline. And while her shots explode through the court out of the reach of her opponents, she runs down shots that would be winners against anyone else.

Venus, on the other hand has stayed firmly in tennis’ background since winning her fifth Wimbledon. The new queen of the All-England Club has played consistently well at the US Open. She won consecutive Opens in 2000 and 2001, has been a finalist twice (including once to Serena), a semi-finalist three times, and a quarter-finalist once. Her worst outing at Flushing Meadows was a fourth round loss in 2004.

The 2008 Wimbledon champ is no doubt in the process of rejuvenating and gearing up for the Open. Venus and Serena will play both singles and doubles in Beijing, so practice will not be a problem for either sister (they also won the 2008 Wimbledon doubles title).

Venus will use her punishing backhand, her legs, and her ability to come to net and volley well to frustrate opponents in New York. Unlike most of the other women with an opportunity to go deep into the US Open draw, Williams can construct points with the goal of moving forward and ending those points at the net. This facet of her game makes her a favorite to add a third Open crown to her already crowded trophy case.

The final woman with a very real chance to win the US Open is a surprise. Dinara Safina, Marat’s little sister, is coming into her own as a tennis player. Safina was the French Open runner-up this year and has won two titles to date. A sign of her maturity was on display during her quarterfinal match against Svetlana Kuznetsova. Having won in Los Angeles the week before, Safina found herself down 6-2 2-0 to a confident playing Kuznetsova. From that point on Dinara lost only three games and blew Sveta off the court, 6-3 6-3 in the final two sets.

Safina has always been able to hit as hard as any woman on the tour, But now that she has replaced the baby fat with muscle and gained control over her fiery temperament to the point where she can use it to her advantage, she is as feared as anyone on the WTA Tour. Though her serve can be erratic it is big enough to get her out of trouble. She is matured and now thinks her way through points and matches, and has added variety to her power game. Safina can now hit a beautiful slice backhand and has an excellent drop shot at her disposal. Though she does not come to net often, when she does she usually ends the point with strong, proficient volleys.

It is apparent now that other women on the tour are clearly afraid to play Safina. If Dinara continues to play the type of resilient tennis she has so far this spring and summer, she will find herself ensconced in the top five in the world by next year’s Australian Open.


There are other dangerous floaters out there like Elena Dementieva (#6), Anna Chakvetadze (#9), and Marion Bartoli (#15), and Dominika Cibulkova (#20), but all of these women have flaws that are fatal enough to keep them from consideration as winners in Flushing Meadows.

In brief, Dementieva tends to falter in tight matches against top players. Chakvetadze does not have the firepower to match the game’s big hitters. For Bartoli to win there would have to be some upsets and her serve, which her coach-father seems to tinker with weekly, is too weak to hold up consistently against the best in the game. Cibulkova will fight, but like Chakvetadze she is not a big enough hitter to make it all the way through the tournament.
So, which woman will win? Any of them can but only three have a viable chance at the year’s final grand slam.

Jelena Jankovic has proven that she cannot at all handle the pressure of being #1 in the world, as she has squandered four easy opportunities at that spot. Though Jankovic has impeccable timing with her groundstrokes and is a good volleyer, she does not have the firepower on any shot to hurt any of the top women.

Additionally, opponents have grown used to Jankovic’s antics that used to rattle opponents during matches. The stalling between points, calling for a trainer just before an important service game for the opponent, moping around the court appearing ready to give up one point and fighting to the death the next, have grown old. More and more the luster has been removed from the learning to play in a swimming pool during a war Serbian players, in general, but particularly with Jankovic, who is quicker to conjure this image than her compatriots like Ivanovic, Jankop Tipsarevic, and Novak Djokavic (who does grate at his opponents’ nerves as well).

Right now Jelena has an equal chance of losing by the round of 16 as she does reaching the semifinals. And a player like that cannot last under the glare of New York.

Ana Ivanovic is at the top spot and is worse for wear because of it. Rather than grabbing the number one position and keeping it for some time, it is much more common for players to reach the pinnacle of the sports and then falter. The newfound off-court responsibilities and pressures to conduct more interviews and public appearances around the world take their toll on a player’s concentration. The fact that every player below a newly-minted #1 feels they can take advantage of a newbie to that position is also difficult to deal with.

Opponents who previously would roll over in a match once they got down a set and a break in the second set, suddenly never give up on the match. Opponents who were once closer competition-wise and might get nervous on big points suddenly play as if they have nothing to lose and go for and make shots they would previously never attempt.

So, not only does a player have to reach the #1 spot, they must also learn how to say no to the off-court push and pull. Simultaneously they must learn to focus every point and apply a beat down to every weaker opponent and be secure enough to play fearlessly against the opponents close in rank to them.

Though she may ultimately round into a solid #1, right now Ana Ivanovic is not quite strong enough mentally to do what it takes to deal with the singularly noisy and vociferous New York crowds, hold the many interviewers from around the world at bay, perhaps play the first match of the day under what can be brutally hot and humid weather conditions one day and play the last match of the night with an inebriated, unruly crowd in the stands the next, and fight through the U.S. Open draw.

No way, no how. Not right now for Ana.

So that leaves us with Venus, Serena, and Dinara. Though the Williams sisters will get most of their tuning up before the US Open in Beijing, they have proven that whatever play they get at the Olympics is all the practice they need before the year’s final grand slam event.
Both sister’s games are tailor-made for the Flushing Meadows hardcourts; big, flat groundstrokes that fly through the court, big serves that can get them out of trouble or render an opponent helpless, and both are able to move forward and volley proficiently.

Of the two, though, Venus is less prone to swings in emotion and is able to handle the comparative craziness of the event. From having to play a night match followed by a day match to the loud crowds, to the food smells that permeate the grounds, Venus handles them all with aplomb. Serena, on the other hand, has a history of allowing the environment to get the best of her. In other slams, a home country player is roundly supported by the home crowd.

Not to in New York.

Crowds there tend to root for whomever they please and always root for a long match. So if Serena is up a set and two breaks in the second set and her opponent begins to pick up her play, US Open fans will switch allegiances to the underdog in a heartbeat. And when this happens Serena can become rattled.

Of the two sisters, Serena has the better service motion technically and can depend on her serve more in tight spots. Venus can lose rhythm due to her elongated service motion and find herself missing first serves and hitting weak second serves at crucial times in a match. Venus, though, has a better transition game from the baseline to the net and is a better volleyer than Serena.

But all in all, if the sisters are on the opposite side of the draw from one another a repeat of the Wimbledon finals is a distinct possibility.

Finally, there is Dinara Safina, the hottest player on the WTA Tour. Safina has won consecutive tournaments and easily won the US Open Summer Series tour which will guarantee her at least $250,000 in bonus money depending on her finish at the Open (she will receive one million dollars in bonus money should she win the Open and $500,000 if she is the singles finalist).

Safina has proven to be a smart player with powerful enough groundstrokes to blow through opponents on the Flushing Meadows courts. The one drawback to Dinara’s game is her serve. When it is on it is one of the best in the women’s game. However, with her high ball toss, timing is essential to the success of Safina’s serves. When her timing is off as it often is square in the middle of a match, she can double fault three times in a game in a heartbeat. Against quality opponents like the Williams sisters a mental lapse like this can cost her a championship.

But Safina does have the game to take the Open title.

Her slice backhand seemed to improve match-to-match during the summer series. When she does come to net her volleys are crisp, she anticipates her opponent’s passing shots well, and with her 6′1″ frame (she is taller than her 5′11 1/2″ WTA Tour bio listing) and long arms her reach at net is matched only by Venus Williams.

Provided she is playing no more tournaments after the Olympics, Dinara should be able to recharge her batteries in plenty of time for the Open.

So which of these three women will take the title? I’m going to go with the summer’s hot player and pick Dinara Safina, at age 22, to break through and win her first grand slam tournament…

If her finals opponent is Serena.

At some point the US Open crowd will swing in favor of the Russian. And though Safina will have problems consistently holding her serve, Serena’s forehand is equally shaky at any given time during a match. Safina will get in just enough first serves to put pressure on Serena - and the crowd will make Williams break.

Now, if Safina faces Venus Williams I feel Venus will win her second slam of the year. The two women’s games are so similar that in the end it will come down to which one can get to more shots and is consistently more aggressive. And when push comes to shove Venus can run down more shots than Safina and is a better volleyer. And unlike her sister, Veuns’ groundstrokes tend to hold up better under pressure.

So there you have it. If Dinara Safina plays Serena Williams or any other player not named Venus in the finals, Safina wins. And if Venus Williams reaches the finals against anyone including Dinara, Venus wins.

Those are my picks for the women’s side of the US Open and I’m stickin’ by ‘em.

**D.K. Wilson is a freelance sports writer. He is better known on the internet as "DWil," and writes for Sports On My Mind.

enchantrezz Aug 7th, 2008 05:01 PM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

ATP Countrywide Classics, LA 08/07/08

"Before, she was the sister of the brother, but now, I'm the brother of the sister,”
- Marat Safin

Dinayer Aug 7th, 2008 05:04 PM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara
thanks for the article :)

Dinayer Aug 7th, 2008 05:05 PM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Originally Posted by enchantrezz (Post 13784126)

ATP Countrywide Classics, LA 08/07/08

"Before, she was the sister of the brother, but now, I'm the brother of the sister,”
- Marat Safin


enchantrezz Aug 7th, 2008 06:23 PM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara
You're welcome :worship:

How Safina rose from under-achiever to potential world No.1

Dinara Safina has been something of an under-achiever in the world of tennis during her career – that is until now. The younger sister of multiple Grand Slam champion Marat Safin is in a period of renewed confidence and looks finally to be turning her potential into actual results.

Safina had a slow start to the 2008 campaign with a first-round defeat in Australia and failing to get past the third round in major tournaments in the Middle East. The 22-year-old Russian had to wait until the European clay court season to show her ability, winning the prestigious Berlin Ladies Open by defeating former world No.1s Serena Williams and Justine Henin before overcoming Russian rival Elena Dementieva in the final.

A few weeks later Safina increased her momentum even further with her appearance in the French Open final at Roland Garros. She had huge wins over Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova and was even more impressive in the way she handled the pressure and had a determined look about her.

Her powerful groundstrokes and huge serve unfortunately did not allow her to win her first Grand Slam as Ana Ivanovic proved too strong. But at least Safina had reduced the number of double faults on her serve and her play seemed like that of a champion rather than a top-20 player, where she has been for most of her young career.

Safina needed a big tournament to really take her forward in her tennis career and her results since have shown that 2008 is the year she will gain success on a par with her brother’s achievements.

Safina played well on the grass, reaching her third successive tournament final of the year at ’s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, before falling in the third round at Wimbledon to Israeli Shahar Peer. Many fans would have thought such a great run of form would have ended at this point and that she would have remained a decent top-20 player, but not this time.

Safina has shown great willpower at the start of the US hard court season, with tournament victories in Los Angeles and Montreal, defeating the likes of Jelena Jankovic, Kuznetsova and Victoria Azarenka on her way. She has set herself up nicely for a good shot at the Olympic title in Beijing and also the US Open in September.

She seems unafraid of the world’s best players and I think Safina could well challenge for the No.1 spot, which has been up for grabs since the retirement of Henin. She is less than 1,000 points behind the No.1 position and has earned 2,025 of her 2,800 ranking points this year over only the past couple of months, showing she is the most consistent player on the tour at the moment, and I can see her run of form continuing.

Safina has not got too many points to defend in the latter part of 2008 and very few in the beginning of next year so she really should be fighting for that top spot in the rankings and her new found mental toughness will help her to achieve this success.

For a long time Safina has failed to live up to expectations and Sharapova, Dementieva, Kuznetsova and Petrova have overshadowed the 22-year-old, but at last she looks like a girl on a mission – watch this space!

Source:Chris Goldsmith

enchantrezz Aug 7th, 2008 06:33 PM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara
:hearts: FLASHBACK:hearts:

Dinara Safina : Perfectionnist
(Interviewed by her brother Marat Safin)
[excerpt from a L'Equipe Interview during Kremlin Cup 2004 with Russia's top female players]

Marat Safin: Why are you so impatient? Why do you want everything immediately while you are just 17?

Dinara Safina: I love tennis too much. I love winning too much. I train myself hard. It's all I think about. So, I give everything to tennis and what I do is working. When I lose, I can't cope with it, it really makes me suffer. It's true that I'm only 17 but at this age, Martina Hingis was number one... And my temper is like that, when I want something, I need to have it.

M.S: What for example?
D.S: It's especially about tennis, about victories, about technical improvements... Anyway, nothing counts more than tennis.

M.S: And do you think it's good for you?
D.S: Yes because I love it. I want to give everything to tennis for the ten or twelve years I will play. Then I will move on to something else, I will have children, I will have another life.

M.S: But today, what do you like in this lifestyle as a professional tennis player? What really gives you pleasure?

D.S: Apart from winning matches, I like earning money. I really like to know that I can earn enough money to be able to live well for my whole life and buy whatever I want, whenever I want, without having to count my money. I'm reassured to think this, that I'll be able to spend money without having to count too much, and bring my children up without running out of anything. Apart from this, I don't really like travelling, I'm too scared of airplanes; it is the big black cloud over my life. And also defeats. Oh yes, there is something else that I like: the player's lounges. I love chatting with everybody, so I spend a lot of time there, and I talk, I talk...

M.S: Last question: What do you think of me?

You're my God! When you play, I love watching you. When you lose, I'm even sadder than when I lose. When you're hurt, I suffer. When you talk to me, I drink your words. When you come to see me playing, I'm beside myself with joy. I hate hearing or reading something bad about you. I know you are hard-working and that you do everything you can to be number one. For me, you have the biggest talent of any player and I don't have half of your talent. The only thing I have more of than you, is that I like working more than you do, I could be doing only this for 24 hours a day, and it's not your case, I know it. In any case, if you don't practice for 3 days, you're still as strong. If I miss one practice, I regress and I'm unhappy. It makes me cry, just like when I went to school and had bad marks. I want to do everything perfectly. Approximation makes me crazy.

Magdalena Anna Aug 7th, 2008 08:30 PM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Originally Posted by enchantrezz (Post 13784617)
D.S:] You're my God! When you play, I love watching you. When you lose, I'm even sadder than when I lose. When you're hurt, I suffer. When you talk to me, I drink your words. When you come to see me playing, I'm beside myself with joy. I hate hearing or reading something bad about you. I know you are hard-working and that you do everything you can to be number one ...

Dina is amaizing :hearts:
For me her wards is the most beautiful text I ever read, really :)

enchantrezz Aug 10th, 2008 04:19 AM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara
Women's field deep in Beijing by Matt Cronin, Special to

Nadia Petrova is ranked No. 18 in the world, but she won't be striking fuzzy tennis balls at the Beijing Olympics because her nation, Russia, is so rich in talent that she missed the cut.

Instead, the 26-year-old and former No.3 is heading to Cincinnati to compete against a small yet talented field that includes former No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo of France and former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli.

Petrova, who competed in the 2004 Games in Athens and is a member of the Russian Fed Cup team, may not be competing in Beijing, but she has an opinion when it comes to picking who has the best shot to take home gold.

When asked to name five players with the best chance to win gold in Beijing, Petrova selected one Russian in her top 5 — Dinara Safina, the French Open finalist who just won back-to-back titles in L.A. and Montreal. The rest of her list included two Serbians — No. 1 Jelena Jankovic and No. 2 Ana Ivanovic — and Americans Venus and Serena Williams.

SAFINA: "Dinara looks so dominant — her facial expression has changed, her mental approach is different and she looks more grown up," said Petrova, whose mother Nadejda Ilina won the bronze medal at the Montreal Olympics in the 400m relay. "Reaching the French final really helped her confidence. Before she was just going to tournaments and trying to get as far as she could. Now, from what I've heard from her, she has the desire to become to No. 1 and has really set a goal for herself."

IVANOVIC: Petrova is not as enamored with the French Open champion Ivanovic's game and says it is going to be very difficult for the Serbian to impose herself as she's been unable to practice much due to a bad thumb injury.
The 20-year-old has been spectacular at times this year, but has also fallen into mini-slumps, unable to follow up her Parisian success with early exits at Wimbledon and Montreal. Petrova doesn't like Ivanovic's lack of a Plan B.
"She has big strokes, but I don't see much variety in her game," Petrova said. "Whenever something goes off, she's not able to control to the ball."

JANKOVIC: Petrova is a bit more impressed by Jankovic, who just became the first player in Sony Ericsson WTA Tour history to reach No. 1 without playing in a Grand Slam final. But she says that Jankovic's success is based more on her personal happiness than it is on pure ball striking.
"Jelena is very consistent and whenever she's playing she's going for every shot," said Petrova, who lost to Jankovic in L.A. "She's very focused from the baseline and she picks the right moments to go for her shots. As long as she's having fun, she's dangerous, but when she's kind of getting bored then it doesn't work anymore."

WILLIAMS SISTERS: Petrova readily acknowledges how dangerous the Williams sisters can be when healthy, but that's an open question in Beijing as both are coming off knee injuries.
Venus won the gold medal in singles in 2000, and she and Serena won the gold in doubles. But without having played a match on tour since winning her fifth Wimbledon title, Venus will have to round herself into form quickly. The seven-time Grand Slam champion has done so before, but given that she hasn't won a significant crown outside of Wimbledon since 2004 (Charleston on clay), her prospects are very much in doubt. In fact, Venus, a two-time U.S. Open champion, hasn't won a significant hard court tournament since Antwerp in 2003.
Serena is certainly gunning for Olympic gold and U.S. Open glory and told a few weeks ago that her year won't be satisfactory without one of those titles. But she re-injured her chronically bad knee at Stanford and like her sister is very shaky when she has to play through pain.

THE REST OF THE FIELD: Somewhat surprisingly, Petrova didn't tab another one of her countrywomen, world No. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova, as a player to watch. "She hasn't had great results recently, nothing outstanding," Petrova said. "For her it's a matter of will, but she can be dangerous if she has her mind on something."

Here's a few other medal hopefuls in stacked draw: No.5 and 2000 silver medalist Elena Dementieva, who plays the Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko in the opening round; No. 8 seed and teenager Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, who faces Chan Yung-Jan; rising Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, who has shown terrific form as of late; and two other teens, Slovak Dominika Cibulkova — who reached the Montreal final — as well as Dane Caroline Wozniacki, who just won a tournament in Sweden on hard courts.

Dinayer Aug 10th, 2008 10:01 AM

Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara
thanks for the acticle, a love it :sobbing:

dinara is so cute :inlove:

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