Safina Drops Ball, Chance for No. 1 Ranking at Indian Wells

by Staff | March 19th, 2009, 11:34 am
  • 1 Comment

Serena Williams’ No. 1 ranking is safe, even with the younger Williams sister skipping the top-tier Indian Wells event.
Russian Dinara Safina, who had a chance to take No. 1 for the first time by reaching the Indian Wells final, dropped the ball on Wednesday, squandering a one-set lead in a 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-3 loss to Sharapova-like shrieker Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open.

“I played pretty good the first set, especially on the tiebreaker,” Safina said. “From the second set, I just gave it all into her hands, so she started to dominate.”

Safina saved a set point in winning the opening set on the tiebreak, but then sat back as Azarenka became the aggressor. Safina was up a break 3-1 in the third before dropping the last five games.

Azarenka said her key to victory was going into Rafa Mode.

“The image I had in my head there was actually [Rafael] Nadal, the way he plays all the time,” Azarenka said. “No matter what, he fights. I think his mentality, for me, it is the best mentality anybody has ever had.”

Azarenka will next face No. 4 seed Vera Zvonareva, the new de facto tournament favorite in the opinion of many, after the Russian who easily beat No. 9 seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-4, 6-2.

Zvonareva, nicknamed “The Crying Game,” is renowned for her emotional meltdowns on court, but the Russian says emotions are a good thing — if she can keep them under control.

“I think I’m still an emotional player, because I think I like to create on the court,” she said. “I like to play a different game, and I think emotion can help and emotion can harm a little bit. I think with experience, I have learned to let the emotions out when I need it, and to focus on myself when I don’t need them…I don’t really pay attention to what people say.”

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One Comment for Safina Drops Ball, Chance for No. 1 Ranking at Indian Wells

sar Says:

I liked Vika for this. Seems like Dinara WAS following in Ana’s footsteps, though one year later. Ana finalist in FO and AO same as Dinara this year, then Ana taking the IW and FO.
I don’t see Dinara winning the FO now. I don’t know who will, but Safina seems to have caught Ana-itis.

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