Ivanovic Upbeat in Loss, Safina Suicidal in Win at Rome

Posted on May 6, 2009

World No. 1 Dinara Safina barely survived, but French Open champion Ana Ivanovic didn't on Wednesday at the WTA claycourt stop in Rome.

Ivanovic was upset by Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, while Safina was forced to fight from a set down to defeat No. 14 seed Zheng Jie 5-7, 6-1, 7-6(3).

"I think I was playing pretty well, especially in the third set and the second set," said an upbeat Ivanovic. "But she played really well. After I was 4-0 up she didn't give me many opportunities. I was a little bit disappointed I didn't step in and take some balls out of the air because I think that's the way I should play against her because she's a great mover and she was retrieving lots of balls...my serve is getting much better. I feel power on it. It's back. I just have to stick with the things I've been doing."

Safina trailed 2-5 in the third set before forcing a tiebreaker and eventual victory.

"I'm practicing and I'm playing great and aggressive and suddenly I come on court and it's completely like 360 degrees, a completely different person playing on the court," said a close-to-tears Safina following the match. "I just don't understand what's going on with me, like what is it with my brain."

The sister of combustible ATP star Marat Safin appeared more like her brother in the post-match conference, complaining and emotional about her play.

"I mean, every time I go on the court I go, 'Okay, I'm trying to play aggressive,' and I do totally the opposite thing," Safina said. "Way too passive and not the way that I have to play. This is just too frustrating and too sad."

Two-time defending champ Jelena Jankovic won when Kateryna Bondarenko retired with an illness in the second set. She will next meet Svetlana Kuznetsova, who outlasted No. 12 seed Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 3-6, 6-0.