What a year 2009 has been for Dinara Safina. She gets smoked in the Australian Open final by Serena Williams, and despite a decent clay court season, chokes in the French Open final to Svetlana Kuznetsova. Then Safina got smoked again by Venus Williams at Wimbledon, then went on the “magical misery tour” this summer on the hard courts culminating in an early round loss at the U.S Open.
But Safina wasn’t done as she wanted to end the year in real style. Yesterday Safina posted the worst loss ever by a ranking number one player when she lost to 226th ranked Zhang Shuai at the China Open. The previous honor went to Julie Coin’s shocking second round defeat of then number one Ana Ivanovic at the U.S. Open last year. And we all know what happened after that.
If Serena Williams wins her match tomorrow she will regain the number one ranking which many have felt was hers all year. But Safina’s loss has increased calls for the WTA to change its rankings system again.
Personally I don’t think that needs to happen as the current system rewards consistency and playing many events which Safina had been doing. It’s one thing for Safina to lose it mentally in big finals where she felt the pressure to win a Slam, but these recent early round losses point to a larger problem that Safina needs to fix quickly.
So my advice for Safina? Do like Ana Ivanovic and take the rest of the year off, find a nice secluded place and start chanting — nam myoho renge kyo nam myoho renge kyo….
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