Friday, May 09, 2008

Dinara Safina, Giant Killer

Haven't seen the match yet, but Dinara Safina, the feisty little sister of the feisty Marat Safin, followed up her upset win over Justine Henin with an even more impressive come-from-behind victory 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(5) over Serena Williams at the German Open.

While Justine has struggled this season, Serena was coming off three victories in a row, including consecutive Tier 1 titles, and a 17-match winning streak. While her form has been fabulous, her faith in herself has been suspect. I'm reminded of her inability to close out matches back in 2001 and 2002 before she started winning more Slams. How cyclical a career can be.

As for Dinara, she's always had the talent, but her lack of mobility and her frail mentality have kept her from living up to her potential. Clay, ironically, is her best surface because she can get to more shots. To defeat two multiple Slam champions in a row, not to mention outlasting Serena in a third-set tiebreak, shows that she has worked hard on her mental toughness and it has paid dividends at a big event.

Let's she if she can take this all the way to Sunday.


mznblue said...

Hi Craig,

I've read your blog for quite some time, but I've never responded before.

Although I'm disappointed Serena lost, I'm not too upset. I'm just glad she was able to get a few matches under her belt on clay, and now has time to rest up, learn from her mistakes in this match, and prepare for Rome. I really worry about injury, especially when Serena plays on clay, so I'm oddly relieved.

Getting back to the match, I'm happy for Dinara. I've always pulled for her, but I will be very annoyed if she drops back down to her normal level and loses to Azarenka after beating both Justine and Serena.

Craig Hickman said...

Welcome, mznblue!

I'm not disappointed with Serena's loss either for many of the same reasons you state.

We'll have to see what happens with Dinara.

mznblue said...

I'm glad Dinara came through without difficultly, it eases the loss just a bit. But now that Ana is my only fav standing, I want her to defend her title.