Tag Archives: Dinara Safina

Safina “Backs” Out of Brisbane.

Dinara Safina is paying the price for trying to hold onto her then No. 1 ranking during the end of the season while dealing with a serious back injury. According to the AP today, Safina has pulled out of the Brisbane International tournament because of the ongoing injury.

“I know she (Safina) would have been working around the clock to try to be ready for the event, but in the end time beat her and she is still undergoing treatment,” said tournament director Steve Ayles during a telephone interview.

The Brisbane event is a key warmup tourney for next month’s Australian Open as most of the top ten women players will show up along with Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin.

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WTA Crystal Ball for 2010.

Now that the WTA season is over and the ladies are resting up for Australia, I thought it was time to look ahead and give my predictions for 2010. 2009 was a drama filled year and I expect even more next year. Players will be “ranked” according to what I think their year-end ranking will be for 2010.

1. Serena Williams – Even with the return of Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, I don’t expect anyone to take over the top spot from Serena and expect her to win at least two Slams for 2010.

2. Caroline Wozniacki – “Sunshine” as she’s known on the tour will have another consistent year and will find herself in another Slam final. If she can win a big one remains to be seen but it will be hard to bet against her next year. Conditioning and her excessive match play may hurt her down the road.

3. Dinara Safina – A lot depends on Safina’s current back injury and her mental toughness for 2010. I can see her in a Slam final but she will have to dismiss whatever demons she has in order to make it back to the top spot.

4. Svetlana Kuznetsova – Despite her mental flaws, “Sveta” will always be a factor in 2010 and will probably make it to another Slam final. If she wins a Slam next year is entirely up to her. Watch out for her at the Australian Open as she finished 2010 in good shape healthwise.

5. Venus Williams – 2010 will be the last chance at glory for Venus as she turns 30 this year. Aside from Wimbledon, she’s not been a factor for a while at the other Slams and her knee could be a big issue. Plus the fact that no one tour is afraid of playing her could may next year very tough.

6-9. These slots will change depending on the names, i.e. Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenka, Elena Dementieva, etc. They could breakthrough and win a Slam, but let’s face it, shouldn’t they have done so already?

10. Kim Clijsters – Everybody keeps salivating over Henin’s return but Clijsters, who played lights out tennis at the U.S. Open, will still go into every tournament with nothing to lose and thus no pressure. I expect Kimmie to be a factor in Australia and a heavy favorite at the U.S. Open again.

Wildcards – Justine Henin will be the story at the Australian Open win or lose. It will all depend on her draws and I actually think the clay court season is where she will find the most success. She has more to lose than Kim Clijsters in her comeback so a Slam victory in 2010 is paramount.

Sam Stosur – Stosur finally won a WTA event in ’09 and will probably break into the top 10 next year. She’s got the game to win a big one, maybe even Wimbledon, but does she believe she can win is the question.

Maria Sharapova – Sharapova is finally getting back on track after a rocky 2009. If her serve starts clicking again, she could be a factor but probably not until Wimbledon.

Ana Ivanovic – 2010 will define Ivanovic’s entire career. If she can get over her mental and physical fatigue, she could work her way back into the top ten again. If she can’t, I could see her retiring early. Hope I’m wrong.

Melanie Oudin – Next year will be the real test for the feisty American to prove the U.S. Open run was no fluke. I definitely see her in the top 20 before too long. Perhaps the French Open will be her next surprise Slam as she says she likes the clay?

Amelie Mauresmo – There’s been no word yet on Mauresmo’s potential retirement but even if she decides to stick it out, 2010 will probably be her last year. Maybe she will finally go for broke and play with nothing to lose? If so, we could be in for a real treat.

Let me know what you think!

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Zvonareva – Doha’s “Cinderella”?

So Vera Zvonareva’s journey to the WTA Season Finale in Doha was almost like a chapter out of “Cinderella”.

She barely missed the final eight cut when she lost early in Moscow. However, being in the top ten she was invited as an alternate which meant she couldn’t dress up for the “royal ball” like the other “stepsisters”.

However when the “queen” of the ball aka Dinara Safina couldn’t fulfill her duties, Zvonareva now had a chance.

Zvonareva’s fairy tale almost came true today as she was down a set and a break to Caroline Woznicaki, but managed to fight her way back into a third set before losing 0-6, 7-6(3), 6-4.

Even if she can win her next match and go 1-1, it’s unlikely she can advance to the semifinals, unless another miracle occurs.

But of course we’ve seen miracles aplenty this year on the women’s tour, so anything is possible.

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Update – Safina out of Doha, Serena #1.

QATAR WTA TENNIS

Dinara Safina in Tears at Doha (AP)

Well now we know the cause of Dinara Safina’s “misery tour” which began this summer on the hard courts and ended with the world number one in tears at the WTA Finale at Doha.

After her retirement to Jelena Jankovic in their opening round match, Safina announced that she would not continue play at the Doha event due to a severe back injury she has battled for the last three months. Safina said her lower back was almost “fractured”, but didn’t say what was the cause. Safina tried taking cortisone injections this week to deal with the pain but it didn’t work.

Doctors have now advised Safina to take the next six weeks off and that appearing at the 2010 Australian Open is in jeopardy.

This is truly bad news for Safina who endured criticism the whole year not being worthy of her top ranking. It’s hard to say if the back injury was the cause of her many early round losses this summer, but one would think it was a major factor. The other issue is why did Safina not take time off after the U.S. Open and skip Asia rather than risk marring her 2010 schedule? And what about her coach Zeljko Krajan who has endured criticism himself for being too tough on Safina and not looking out for her best interest?

It’s unclear if Safina’s withdrawal will allow one of the alternate players, Agnieska Radwanska or Vera Zvonareva into the main draw. With Safina’s loss, Serena Williams will finish the year at No. 1. She clinched the top spot after winning an epic match against sister Venus Williams 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (4).

In other early round play, Caroline Wozniacki came back from a set and a break down to defeat Victoria Azarenka 1-6, 6-4 7-5.

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Safina’s Misery Tour Continues in Doha.

Busy news day here. In the WTA Series Finale at Doha, current world number one Dinara Safina lost to Jelena Jankovic in their first round after Dinara Safina stopped play at 1-1. Safina went over to her chair, put a towel to her face and starting crying before retiring the match.

It’s not clear if she will continue in the tournament. Serena Williams is currently taking on sister Venus.

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