Monday, March 16, 2009

Spotlight: Dinara Safina


Getty

Overall, I've got a positive impression of Dinara Safina. I like her personality. I like her fight. I'm lukewarm about her tennis. I have enjoyed many of her recent interviews.

Steve takes a closer look at her in Looking Out For No. 1. Here's the introduction:

The crowd is dozing, the second set is dragging, and the woman across the net isn't giving Dinara Safina anything to work with. Peng Shuai shovels one ball down the middle after another—no angles, no pace. It's time for the top seed to take matters into her own hands. This, of course, means that she must let out an unintelligible, or perhaps Russian, scream that turns into a full sentence—maybe a paragraph—of anger. The sleepy Southern California afternoon is punctured. The audience, collectively stunned out of its torpor, gives the players the biggest cheer they receive all afternoon. Safina wins the next two points, the game, the set, and, eventually, not without more struggle and a few more self-lacerations, the match. After yesterday's upsets, the tournament needs its No. 1 seed. Safina, not at her best, has obliged.

Marat's little sister has made a name for herself. That she could become the No. 1 player in the world on Monday by making the final in the California desert leaves me a bit downcast. Color me Old School, but I need my world No. 1's to have hoisted a Big One.

But the rankings are the rankings. Let's see how she holds up under the pressure of seeing the mountaintop for a second time this season.

8 comments:

Pamela said...

I like Dinara, and not just because she's Marat's sister. She's like Kuzzy in a way to me. Seemingly very sweet and honest in her interviews. I just like her.

Her game, well - she's the personification of ball-basher without a plan B. As much as I like her I want her to go out at Indian Wells soon. #1 ranking? eh, if she gets there, she gets there ..

tangerine said...

Overall, I've got a positive impression of Dinara Safina. I like her personality. I like her fight. I'm lukewarm about her tennis.

This is exactly how I feel about Dinara. She plays great in the early round but like too many of the lady ballers today, you can expect her to be crushed by the pressure of expectations and flake out in the final.

royce said...

If she gets #1 will she be crucified like JJ did?

Karen said...

Craig, I agree with you up to a point, but her game leaves me cold and I mean Arctic Cold. Just nothing there. She hits the ball hard and then ... hits the ball even harder. I just cannot stand to see her play. I am like the person here who hopes she flames out before the finals. We need a No. 1 with credibility, not one who saunters into the spot with no credentials. I do not care how good you were during the year, you need to have the barometer of your sport. You need a major.

Thuto said...

WTA ranking system continues to value quantity over quality. We might end up with a slamless no.1 next week. Yea, whats new!?

On the bright side though(atleast for me the die hard fan of VEE), the next few months she has a chance to collect lots of points to shoot up to the top while Serena and the other four on top would be defending quite a bit.

Provided Vee takes the early season momentum with her to Miami and into the clay season.She already has a clay title anyway.

Craig Hickman said...

Serena is defending two top tiers, isn't she?

Oh, well. I'll take the Slam wins over the No. 1 ranking any day.

Karen said...

Craig, yes she is defending Miami and then Charleston. I have every confidence that she will go far in either. As to Vee I think she may do well in Miami and Charleston as well. However, methinks quite a few of the ladies who flamed out in IW may come rearing back in Miami. The difference between the courts in IW and that in Miami is the speed. Whilst the air in IW makes the ball fly through the air, the air in Miami is very heavy but the courts are very fast, which makes it just right for the WS. I noticed that when I was watching the IW matches the rallies were lasting for long periods of time. Think that is why a lot of the players who you would think would do well, i.e. those that rely on the power game have to be engaged in long baseline rallies. They are hitting through the ball but the ball is just sitting there saying hit me hit me. Let us see how everyone who is doing well in IW does in Miami.

MMT said...

I have to admit, I'm taking a bit of a shinin' to this Safina. She cute in a little sister sort of way, and she definitely has a wry sense of humor and a great sense of self. She seems honest and reasonable. I'm sure if she wins the #1 ranking she'll approach it diplomatically as anyone in her position should, and not like that idiot Jankovic who seemed offended by anyone who suggested (openly) that she didn't deserve it, even though anyone without a hole in their head knows she doesn't.