Sveta Big Underdog Again? vs Safina in French Final
by Staff | June 4th, 2009, 10:13 pm

Dinara Safina is the No. 1 player in the world — any questions?
The Russian brought herself to the verge of a first Grand Slam title on Thursday, dispatching of overachiever Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 6-3 to advance into the final at the French Open. Serena Williams and other players who have disparaged the Slam-less Safina can now only sit and watch as one player stands in her way of not only winning a first Slam, but putting big points between her, the Williams sisters and the remainder of players chasing No. 1

That one player will be another Russian in Svetlana Kuznetsova, who out-fitnessed Sam Stosur 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3.

Kuznetsova looked to be on the fast track to challenging for No. 1 after winning the US Open in 2004, but she hasn’t won a Slam since, failing to live up to the challenge of Justine Henin who defeated her in the 2006 Roland Garros final and in the 2007 final at the US Open.

Stosur pushed Kuznetsova to a third set in the semis before her tank ran dry.

“Sam played so well in the [second set] tiebreak. She took the risks and she made them. I give her credit,” Kuznetsova said. “I stayed tough and won the third set. Even though I should have won the second set, I still kept playing. I didn’t give up.”

It was the first Slam quarterfinal appearance for the Aussie.

“I tried to the last point, but when you go down a break in the third, it’s not easy to get it back,” Stosur said. “I’ve played big matches before. I thought I handled the occasion really well. I felt really good out there mentally and physically, and I gave it my best shot. I don’t think the occasion overwhelmed me.”

Safina leads the head-to-head with Kuznetsova 8-5, but they are deadlocked at 4-4 on clay.

Safina is 0-2 in Slam finals, losing last year at the French to Ana Ivanovic, and this year at the Australian Open to Serena Williams, both time appearing mentally less than a champion.

“Hopefully it will be third time lucky for me,” Safina said. “It will be great if I have a Grand Slam, but the way I’m playing, I think it shows enough that I deserve this spot. I just want to go out there on Saturday and play my game.”

You Might Like:
Safina, Venus Lose Opening Round in Tokyo; WTA Circus Continues
Venus Beats Serena, Joins Jankovc, Zvonareva in Doha Championships Semifinals
On-Court Coaching Saves Safina in Stuttgart Semis
Kuznetsova Upset, Serena Williams Headlines Loaded Field at WTA Madrid
Safina, Kuznetsova Reach 2nd Final in Two Weeks at Rome

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

7 Comments for Sveta Big Underdog Again? vs Safina in French Final

Kimmi Says:

Safina is due for her 1st slam. But I have a soft spot for sveta. She had a very tough draw, I don’t think she still has the gas to go on. I heard she it nursing a big blister too.

safina only big opposition was Azarenka, but she seem to be very nervous in the semi with cibulkova. I did not like the way she shouted in russian everytime she make a mistake or when cibulkova hit a good short. I know she is a tough girl but I thought a lot of shouting in the 2nd set did not look good. But then it looks like Safina want this title more than anything. Good luck to both girls.

vared Says:

Safina asks her coach after every point what she should do. I hope Sveta has enough in her to win this one. It might be her last chance, who knows.

jane Says:

This is a toss up; even though Kuz has played more 3 setters, she has had some stiffer competition. I am not sure who will win. I’d perhaps favor a first-time win for Safina, but either way I won’t be disappointed. This was the final I wanted if Sharpie couldn’t pull out a miracle and get there. May the best player on the day take it.

Kimmi Says:

Jane, Sharpie ?? Is that Sharapova ? ha ha

jane Says:

Kimmi, ha ha I think so. I’ve heard her called that and also Masha. I usually called her Sharapova, but I think I read someone here calling her Sharpie and it stuck in my head. LOL. Oh well. Let hope it’s a good WTA final tomorrow!

Von Says:

I’d like to see Kuzy win this one, but in all fairness, I’d have to say that Safina should get this GS title since Kuzy already has one, and Safina has been a model of consistency on the women’s tour, which sadly needs a leader at the present time. A GS win will definitely seal her justified No. 1 ranking spot.

I’m not a Safina fan at all, but I love Marat, who has a lot of charisma and is a ladies’ man, with his boyish, roguish smile, charisma, charm and good looks. I can’t handle Safina’s sounds which are not grunts, screams or squeals, they are altogether weird, and she’s not an eye-pleasing/appealing athlete, not to mention her dependence on her coach, and her press conferences where she never seems pleased with her performance, ever. Gosh can anyone be such a martyr? I also wish she’d wear a top that covers her belly, but these are all subjective and my personal thoughts. Anyway, that aside, I hope the best player wins.

Kimmi Says:

You gonna have to feel Sorry for Safina, she looked very nervous just could not do it. Double fault on match point tells it all.

Congratulation Sveta, I think those matches with Serena and stutor made her tougher…she had the tougher road to the final and she deserve it.

Top story: Azarenka Seeks 3rd Indian Wells Title Sunday Against Badosa