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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 01:53 AM   #46
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Kid sister a serious player By Bud Collins

NEW YORK - Tolstoy would have loved her. Count Leo Tolstoy, the Russian scribbler, would have loved this US Open, too, because he was one of the first tennis nuts in his country. Had his own tennis court. Played avidly. And, were he here, would be surrounded by strong-armed countrywomen.

Seventeen of them, for Lenin's sake, infiltrating, seeking the US Championship, for which only 15 Americans were eligible (but only two of them with a chance, Venus and Serena).

I think Tolstoy would have singled out 22-year-old Dinara Safina because she has the best story. Kid sister of the 2000 champion, Marat Safin. Shipped out from Moscow at age 12 to Spain. Strange country. Strange language. Knowing no one. Valencia, where the oranges come from - and good tennis players. Following the route of big brother Marat, she fit right in - "It wasn't hard," she says with a shrug - tuned up her game, and became a touring pro.

Mama, Raouza Islanova, a teaching professional, thought it would be character-building for her kids. She didn't want Marat's pals calling him a mama's boy if she continued coaching him. It worked for big brother and for little sister later (so being a 6-footer is "little"?).

"Forever, I'll always be his little sister," she says, leaning forward in her chair, auburn hair pulled back, hazel eyes gleaming. She has a dream "that would be the most amazing thing that can happen."

She means this family double: sister and brother holding majors. Never has happened. Marat has two, Australia 2005, plus the US.

Now is it her turn?

Well, this female US Open looks like a delightful mess that nobody can win. Or anybody. Extraordinarily, the No. 1 ranking, held shakily by Serb Ana Ivanovic, can be grabbed by any one of four others - whoever bags the title: No. 2 Jelena Jankovic, No. 3 Serena Williams, No. 6 Olympic champ Elena Dementieva, or No. 7 Safina. But don't forget No. 8 Venus Williams, ever a contender. (No. 5 Maria Sharapova is hurt. Defender Justine Henin has bugged out, leaving the rest to scrap for her crown.)

Tolstoy would pick Safina, as being much like the heroic Natasha in his "War and Peace," and he would forgive her for being unable to finish that book. Who has?

"But I tried," she says, and did read "Anna Karenina," whose heroine's serve was broken at the end.

As a player who tries, Safina has few equals. And lately she has outdone big brother, he 37 lengths behind at No. 44.

On a beautiful afternoon, the two of them served up a war and peace scenario. Dinara was on first, and felt so peaceful in beating an American 16-year-old, Kristie Ahn, 6-3, 6-4, she couldn't believe it. Usually, she says, she is "very tight, nervous," in starting a major. "It's better that way," she adds. "But I flew straight from China, so somehow slowly I got into this atmosphere."

China meant the Olympics, where she silver-medaled to compatriot Dementieva. For Safina, who delivered a memorable backhand down the line to snatch a match point from Sharapova on the way to the French final, the Beijing defeat was the lone loss in her last 17 starts. A powerful baseliner, she ran up a 15-match streak by winning Los Angeles and the Canadian Open en route to the narrowly lost Olympic final, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Later came the war as big brother cursed court officials while slipping past Floridian Vince Spadea, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

"If my sister does everything opposite me, she will be No. 1 for a long time," said Marat later, with a chuckle. He was No. 1 himself for a while in 2000.

We all know that the irrepressible Headless Horseman, who can laugh at himself, is at times truculent. It so happened that serving at 4-5, deuce, in the fourth set, he was called for a foot fault on the second serve, thus a double fault to set point. He sat down, refused to play, saying naughty things to the umpire and line judge who called it. The referee, Brian Early, appeared, insisted that he play. So they continued. Safin lost the next point, the set. "But I pulled myself together in the fifth," he says.

A plus, instead of sulking: Safin probably disappointed a few customers by not indulging in a specialty: racket obliteration. His long harangue to reporters amounted to, "They say rules are rules . . . stupid rules somebody made in, I don't know, 1850 . . . it's like talking to walls . . . you are supposed to be warned before being called a foot fault."

Wrong. He was issued a warning for audible obscenity (a beauty), and will be fined.

Anyway, Safina says, "the important thing in tennis is terenic - patience. You work so hard and nothing good happens. You have to be patient." She must tell Marat.

"Why so many of us [Russians] here?" she says. "We push each other while we're growing up."

"Sibling rivalry?" she says of big bro, six years the elder. "Never. He helped. If I would behave like a baby on the court, crying, he was always like, 'Come on, you have to grow up. You have to grow up in your mind.' "

She shakes her head, talking of passing him in the rankings. "Nothing changed. It doesn't need results. It's family. Doesn't matter. Jealousy? In our family, doesn't exist."

Did she watch Marat's match? "Oh, no, I get too tight. I don't watch unless I'm out of the tournament."

Tolstoy would have watched, looking for a fiery character he could model after Marat.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2008, 06:38 AM   #47
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Coach Krajan

The Star-Ledger Sports News Article:

How's this for a Knute Rockne speech? Zeljko Krajan, Dinara Safina's coach, told his exhausted player before she went on court that if she wanted to just go through the motions and tank the match, well, then, it was okay with him.

The result? Safina cruised to a 7-5, 6-0 victory over German Anna-Lena Groenefeld, breezing past the qualifier in 1 hour, 15 minutes.

"My coach said, 'Just go out there and if you want to just hit -- no, he say if you want you can tank," Safina said. "Well, once I go on court, I'm not going to tank."

Not even close, and now she will play the Italian Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals.

But before yesterday's match, Safina was in tears following her morning practice session, so distraught over her increasing fatigue. The No. 6 seed, who surged into the tournament after reaching the finals in six of her past seven tournaments, said she was on the verge of total exhaustion.

"Honestly, I didn't expect that I was going to win because I was just so exhausted," the Russian said. "After the warm-up I just started to cry. I said, 'I cannot push myself any more.' He said, 'We know you are not a machine.'"

Krajan also seemed to be weary of Safina's drama, at least according to her.

"He told me again, 'Just please don't show me any emotions, like these negative emotions,'" she recalled. "'If you want, don't show even positive. Just go on the court and do whatever you can this day. If it's 20 percent left from your body, give us 20 percent.'"

That's great stuff, reminiscent of Gene Hackman's character in "Hoosiers."

They should replay Krajan's speech on the scoreboard at Shea Stadium when anyone wants to get a rally going.

"Come on guys, just go out and tank if you want. It's okay with me. Go out there and give us 20 percent!"
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Old Sep 2nd, 2008, 08:39 AM   #48
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Dinara became the best sportsman of the August. 51.4 % viewer of russian chanel 'Sport' voted for her. Among other competitors were Elena Isinbayeva(gold medalist in pole vault), Pavel Pogrebnyak (FC Zenit), Anastasia Ermakova and Anastasia Davydova( gold medalists in synchronized swimming), Buivasar Saytiev (gld medalist in free-style wrestling), Alexey Tishchenko (gold medalist in boxing).
Congrats to Dinara! I hope at the end of the year she will win "the best sportsman of the year"
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Old Sep 2nd, 2008, 11:03 AM   #49
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

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Originally Posted by Tatianadove View Post
Dinara became the best sportsman of the August. 51.4 % viewer of russian chanel 'Sport' voted for her. Among other competitors were Elena Isinbayeva(gold medalist in pole vault), Pavel Pogrebnyak (FC Zenit), Anastasia Ermakova and Anastasia Davydova( gold medalists in synchronized swimming), Buivasar Saytiev (gld medalist in free-style wrestling), Alexey Tishchenko (gold medalist in boxing).
Congrats to Dinara! I hope at the end of the year she will win "the best sportsman of the year"
Cool! What happened to Dementieva, she was the Gold Medalist..she wasnt voted by the viewers?

Safina must be more popular than her in Russia, I mean 51% vote, thats huge. And Im sure this would get a lot of reactions if posted in the GM thread , lol
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Old Sep 2nd, 2008, 12:19 PM   #50
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

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Originally Posted by enchantrezz View Post
Coach Krajan

The Star-Ledger Sports News Article:

How's this for a Knute Rockne speech? Zeljko Krajan, Dinara Safina's coach, told his exhausted player before she went on court that if she wanted to just go through the motions and tank the match, well, then, it was okay with him.

The result? Safina cruised to a 7-5, 6-0 victory over German Anna-Lena Groenefeld, breezing past the qualifier in 1 hour, 15 minutes.

"My coach said, 'Just go out there and if you want to just hit -- no, he say if you want you can tank," Safina said. "Well, once I go on court, I'm not going to tank."

Not even close, and now she will play the Italian Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals.

But before yesterday's match, Safina was in tears following her morning practice session, so distraught over her increasing fatigue. The No. 6 seed, who surged into the tournament after reaching the finals in six of her past seven tournaments, said she was on the verge of total exhaustion.

"Honestly, I didn't expect that I was going to win because I was just so exhausted," the Russian said. "After the warm-up I just started to cry. I said, 'I cannot push myself any more.' He said, 'We know you are not a machine.'"

Krajan also seemed to be weary of Safina's drama, at least according to her.

"He told me again, 'Just please don't show me any emotions, like these negative emotions,'" she recalled. "'If you want, don't show even positive. Just go on the court and do whatever you can this day. If it's 20 percent left from your body, give us 20 percent.'"

That's great stuff, reminiscent of Gene Hackman's character in "Hoosiers."

They should replay Krajan's speech on the scoreboard at Shea Stadium when anyone wants to get a rally going.

"Come on guys, just go out and tank if you want. It's okay with me. Go out there and give us 20 percent!"
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Old Sep 2nd, 2008, 01:20 PM   #51
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Little sis making big headway on WTA Tour

NEW YORK -- Sibling rivalry can be a powerful dynamic, charged with all kinds of weird energy and profound emotions. Often -- setting Cain and Abel aside -- it's a good thing.

Sometimes, it can inspire greatness. Was it a really coincidence that three years after Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl and was named Most Valuable Player his younger brother Eli, the New York Giants' quarterback, equaled that accomplishment?

Is it mere chance that Dinara Safina finds herself facing the plausible possibility of replicating her brother Marat Safin's incandescent breakthrough at the U.S. Open eight years ago?

"I think this would be my dream come true, the most amazing thing that can happen," Safina said earlier this week.

Safina is into the third round after Thursday's routine 6-4, 6-3 victory over Roberta Vinci of Italy at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The 22-year-old Russian hasn't put together the ridiculous runs of Rafael Nadal, who has won 39 of his past 40 matches, or the 20-match streak of Juan Martin Del Potro. But in the unsettled world of women's tennis, she comes in with the most momentum, having won 17 of 18 matches.

Her breakthrough season, crowned by a finals appearance at the French Open, has already vaulted the siblings Safin/Safina to the top of the modern tennis hierarchy. A victory here would give her a career-first major title and, if things work out, the No. 1 ranking.

It could actually happen. Safina is one of six women with a chance to emerge with the top ranking. If she wins the tournament and Jelena Jankovic fails to reach the final, Safina will mirror her brother's U.S. Open title and ascension to the No. 1 ranking.

Talk about your unlikely sibling symmetry.

On Thursday, Safina credited her coach, Zeljko Krajan, with teaching her to keep her roiling emotions -- a sometimes endearing family trait -- out of view.

"I would play the match and I would show [my emotions] to everybody," she said. "'You see? I'm trying hard, and it's just not going my way.' Then I would kind of show it to everybody.
"He would say, 'You don't need to show me. I can see it. And don't show [it] to your opponent. Just go out there and do what you can.'"

Krajan started out as Safina's hitting partner and second coach last fall, but when Heinz Gunthardt couldn't devote his full attention to Safina, Krajan became her full-time traveling coach in February.

Safina clearly is fond of her brother, but Krajan admits he was a tough act to follow.

"He has great charisma -- people love him," Krajan said. "It was very tough growing up in that shadow, because his shadow is very big. Coming up in juniors people always said, 'Maybe she can do the same thing as Marat.'

"She struggled with it for years. It's always going to be there, but now it is changing. Before, it was, 'This is the sister of Marat.' Now, it's 'This is Dinara Safina.'"

Safina turned professional in 2000 at the age of 14. Within four years, she cracked the top 50 but idled there, making only incremental improvement. She had all the shots but too often she came up short in the thinking game. Most observers trace her new confidence back to Berlin in May when she ran the table, beating Justine Henin, Serena Williams and, in the final, Elena Dementieva.

Krajan says her confidence level began to change a month earlier in Miami, when she beat Lindsay Davenport in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals.

"She was a good player before this year, top 15, but the mental side was the weaker point," Krajan said. "Before she was not believing that she could win five, six matches at the level. Now she knows she can do this."

It all came together at the French Open, where she defeated Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Dementieva -- all Russians, all top-10 players -- to reach the final. She lost in straight sets to Ana Ivanovic, but gained another magnitude of confidence.

"Somehow, I started going out there and started to believe I'm a player and I can compete with them," she explained. "Maybe before it was missing. Then, I could not give them answers, but now I go out there and for their game I can always give them my answer, my game."

Even though he's now ranked only No. 44 in the world, Safin has managed to overshadow his sister here, although a number of experts are picking her to win.

He ran afoul of the chair umpire in his first-round match after a disputed foot fault and was enormously entertaining in his postmatch news conference.

When asked about his sister, he said, "I think if she will do everything opposite of what I've been doing throughout the years, she will be No. 1 in the world for a long time. That's as simple as it is."

Safina was only 14 when Marat won his first Grand Slam, a startling, straight-sets destruction of Pete Sampras. She didn't see it; she was in Valencia, Spain, but without cable television. Later, she heard the result from friends.

"This tournament is special for me because of my brother," Safina said. "That's why for me, it's always nice to come back here."

If there is a new pressure at work on Safina, it wasn't evident on Thursday.

After her match she sat cross-legged, leaning against a wall outside the women's locker room. Safina had a phone in each hand and was actually working them both at the same time.

After her postmatch interview, she spotted her coach speaking with a reporter. Making the hush sign from behind, she gleefully snuck up on him, grabbed his shoulders and shrieked in his ear.

Krajan, who tried not to smile, shrugged, rolled his eyes and said, "So, as you can see, she's on a roll right now."

She's tired after a long run to the final at the Beijng Olympics, where she lost to Dementieva, and hasn't played particularly well in her first two matches. But with a level women's field that has seen no one separate herself from the peloton, Safina has as good a chance as anyone.

And if she wins? If she lifts her first Grand Slam trophy and earns the No. 1 ranking?

"I'm still the little sister," Safina said. "Doesn't matter. I think forever I'm going to be his little sister."

Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:49 PM   #52
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.


Q. Are you pleased with the way you played today?

DINARA SAFINA: Oh, yeah. I think today maybe I can say finally I'm happy with myself, the way I played, because really I did what I had to do. I was aggressive on the court. I was following the balls every time. I think it was today finally I played my game.


Q. You're going to face somebody with the name Williams in the next round. We don't know which one. Neither one of them have lost a set in this tournament. Your thoughts on playing either Venus or Serena?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, it's going to be a big match. You know, they're both playing good. I don't know. I just want to focus again on myself and to give my 100% and see who's going to be stronger.


Q. You had an opportunity to play Serena on a number of occasions. You haven't played Venus, have you?

DINARA SAFINA: Never.


Q. What does she bring to a tennis match that is unique? I mean, what's unique about playing her?

DINARA SAFINA: Serena?


Q. Yeah.

DINARA SAFINA: Well, she's, first of all, great fighter, except that she's very dominant on the court. She tries to be as much aggressive as she can be. She obviously likes to put pressure on the players, so that's why it makes her a very tough opponent.


Q. I was talking to Nick Bollettieri, who has worked with both Venus and Serena the other day, and he says one of the distinctive things about them ‑ and it came from their father ‑ they were trained at a very young age that there's no such thing as a ball that is out of play. It's simply is not out of play. You must go get it. I mean, did you sense that playing Serena? Obviously you haven't played Venus. But Serena?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, of course, Serena, she always tries to ‑‑ she fights till the last ‑‑ until the ball bounce two times on her side. She moves very good, and she can hit the ball from any position on the court very hard.

So with her, you really have to be focused until I like I say, the ball bounce two times or she misses or you hit clearly a winner.

So that's why, with her, you know, you have to be alert every time.


Q. How much have you watched of Venus? You can't speak from the perspective of having played her. How much have you watched her? What do you think about the way she plays?

DINARA SAFINA: Maybe the only time I watched it was, like, really that I would watch on TV, it was in China when she played against two Chinese, because I knew the winner of us was playing against them.

So I was waiting for my match and they were playing, so kind of I was doing both things at the same time. I was watching them.

But not really that I would watch specific to see what she likes, what she doesn't like. I would just see what to expect from the player.


Q. Do you feel mentally fresh now? Are you able to put aside being tired?

DINARA SAFINA: Honestly, yes, I feel really like ‑‑ already yesterday I was practicing, and I had already a smile on the face. I was like, Okay, now I can play and move.

I think it was ‑‑ sometimes it comes this moment in the body that ‑‑ especially I had like tough match against Bacsinszky.

Next day I had day off, and then to play again I was ‑‑ because it was not easy matches. It was like more mentally that I had to pull the match again being down.

Then with Ahn it was not easy to come back. Then yesterday it was okay. I had to do what I had to do. I pulled these two matches, so now I can get only better so that slowly I'm getting back.


Q. So now that you have the experience this summer, when you get to this stage of the tournament, you almost see that the body's not so important anymore. It's more in the mind.

DINARA SAFINA: Yes. Most of the time the mind controls, but sometimes even the mind gets very tired of pushing every time yourself. So then this comes the moments that you really, like you say you don't care anymore.

But now I feel ‑‑ I'm feeling better.


Q. Do you think there might come a point in the semifinals ‑ obviously you'll play Serena or Venus, so the crowd will be with them ‑ where you'll feel nerves, or are you past that point now?

DINARA SAFINA: After being in China playing two times Chinese?


Q. It will never be like that again.

DINARA SAFINA: And also being in Israel, playing Israeli, it was even worse. So I think so. I guess. I mean, I hope the people will also cheer for me.


---
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Old Sep 4th, 2008, 01:00 AM   #53
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

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Originally Posted by dzsump3r View Post

Q. Do you think there might come a point in the semifinals ‑ obviously you'll play Serena or Venus, so the crowd will be with them ‑ where you'll feel nerves, or are you past that point now?

DINARA SAFINA: After being in China playing two times Chinese?


Q. It will never be like that again.

DINARA SAFINA: And also being in Israel, playing Israeli, it was even worse. So I think so. I guess. I mean, I hope the people will also cheer for me.



Seriously, I think that experience was meant to be a preparation for what I think is about to happen in this Usopen.
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Old Sep 5th, 2008, 01:47 AM   #54
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Serena Williams, Dinara Safina Qualify for Season-Ending Championships

Serena Williams and Dinara Safina have officially qualified for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha.

The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announced the news on Thursday, just one day before the pair is scheduled to meet in the semifinals of the US Open.

The world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams from the 2008 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season will compete for the Championships title and a share of the record prize money of $4.45 million.

Sony Ericsson Championships debutante Safina and 2001 champion Williams join previously qualified Serbs Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic in the singles line-up. Williams earned 3,130 points and Safina earned 3,123 points in the Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships standings.

“I am delighted to have qualified again for the Sony Ericsson Championships,” said Serena Williams in a statement released by the Tour. “It’s always an honor to play at the year-end Championships, and I’m looking forward to playing in Doha where I can hopefully show my best tennis.”

This season, the 26-year-old American claimed three singles titles at the Canara Bank Bangalore Open in Bangalore, the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami and the Family Circle Cup in Charleston. She was runner-up at Wimbledon, where she fell to sister Venus in her 11th career Grand Slam singles final.

“I am really happy about qualifying for the Sony Ericsson Championships,” Safina said. “I think this is the goal for every player to reach the Championships at the end of the year and finally my dream has come true.”

Safina has played her best season to date, winning Tour singles titles at the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, where she defeated World No. 1 Justine Henin, the East West Bank Classic presented by Herbalife in Los Angeles and at the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Montreal for her sixth, seventh and eighth career titles.

She reached her first Grand Slam singles final at Roland Garros, finished runner-up at the Ordina Open at ‘s-Hertogenbosch and was the singles silver medalist at the Beijing Olympics.
“I’m delighted that Serena and Dinara have both qualified for this year’s Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha,” said Larry Scott, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

“Dinara has had a fantastic run this year and absolutely deserves a spot in her first Sony Ericsson Championships. Serena is without doubt a true global icon and displaying wonderful tennis this season. Having both players showcase their talent in Doha will be great for tennis fans around the world.”

“We’re very pleased to see that Dinara and Serena have both qualified for the 2008 Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha,” said Aldo Liguori, Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Communications & PR at Sony Ericsson.

“They are both top seeds in the game and their considerable talent makes them fantastic ambassadors for women’s tennis. We’re sure they will make the season finale to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour one of the most exciting yet.”

Sony Ericsson Championships is scheduled to take place at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, November 4-9, 2008.
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Old Sep 15th, 2008, 09:23 AM   #55
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

hey everyone!
A poll is being conducted, hope you all can vote for Dina
Russian Roulette title message
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Old Sep 15th, 2008, 11:55 AM   #56
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara



aww, can someone post the article , english translation please

Amazing, a silver medalist got the magazine's cover choice
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Old Sep 15th, 2008, 01:13 PM   #57
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

CNNSI's Jon Wertheim on Dinara :

" Nice tournament by Dinara Safina, who made a run to the semis before meeting the Serena buzzsaw. And from the "withering self-assessment department," she earned fans for life with this gem: "I think I was behaving like a really spoiled girl on the court today. This I cannot permit myself playing in semifinal of Grand Slam. So I have to really learn from these things if I want to get better."
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Old Sep 15th, 2008, 06:03 PM   #58
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Quote:
Originally Posted by enchantrezz View Post
hey everyone!
A poll is being conducted, hope you all can vote for Dina
Russian Roulette title message
bumped
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Old Sep 17th, 2008, 02:45 AM   #59
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

Quote:
Originally Posted by enchantrezz View Post
hey everyone!
A poll is being conducted, hope you all can vote for Dina
Russian Roulette title message
i hope there will be more votes from some of you, guys.
Dina's trailing behind Lena and Masha
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"It's a great honour to reach the No. 1 ranking and it is a dream that every girl who has ever wanted to play professional tennis shares" - Dinara
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Old Sep 17th, 2008, 10:23 AM   #60
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Re: News, Articles, Interviews - Anything Dinara

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i hope there will be more votes from some of you, guys.
Dina's trailing behind Lena and Masha
I voted
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