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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Shocked Safina reflects on rout

Photo Titled Dinara Safina
Dinara Safina is helpless as she is forced into submission by Venus Williams in the Ladies' semi-final.

Even 90 minutes after the end of her semi-final defeat at the hands of Venus Williams, Dinara Safina was still in shock from the extent of the rout. To her credit, the number one seed was unsparing in her assessment of the match which she lost 6-1, 6-0 in a lightning 51 minutes.

“She gave me a pretty good lesson today,” said Safina ruefully. “It would be different on another surface. I am not happy with the end result. She is just too good on grass. It’s definitely disappointing to finish the match in less than one hour, and to win only one game. I have to accept it. But this is not my favourite surface, and I still reached the semi-final. So hopefully I can change my mentality on grass and come with a different expectation next year.

“It’s the speed on grass which makes the game different. On hard courts or clay I have time to create a point. I need that time. But here there is no time. She goes straight for the winner. She puts you under pressure from the first point.

“I tried to hit the ball and go for the shots. I missed by a little bit here and a little bit there, and she was pushing me to go for shots that I was not comfortable with.”

Inevitably, of course, the lingering questions will be raised again about the fact that Safina has become the world number one without winning a Grand Slam tournament. She is not the first. Kim Clijsters won the US Open after becoming number one. Last year it was Jelena Jankovic’s turn to reach the top spot, and she is still without a Slam to her name. But Safina is the one in the spotlight at the moment, and for as long as she does not win a Slam title the question will follow her around.

“Well, I’ve been in the semi-final at least of the last four Grand Slams,” sighed Safina, as the inevitable query came. “Being number one is the result of how you play the whole year. It’s not about how you play at one or two tournaments. I play consistently. I won Rome. I won Madrid. I have been in the final of the French Open and the Australian Open. Yes, I haven’t won them but this is not the end of the world.”

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