Jun 6, 2009

Dinara Safina needs a Grand Slam title to justify no.1 rank

Dinara Safina, who is scheduled to meet fellow compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova at the French Open final, has barely done justice to herself in her two previous appearances in a Grand Slam final.

The world no.1 was defeated by Ana Ivanovic here last year and was crushed in less than an hour by Serena Williams at this year's Australian Open.

Kuznetsova, who won the 2004 US Open, last beat Safina in the current clay-court season, winning the final in Stuttgart.

Safina has won eight of their 13 meetings, including five of the last six.
''She's no.1,'' Kuznetsova said.

''She has to win it, not me. I just want to go out there and enjoy it.''
The two players, both 23, have been friends and rivals since they were juniors.
''She was a funny girl,'' Safina recalled.

''I remember her coming to the match with a two-litre Pepsi. You would look at her and think: 'No way can she win a Grand Slam one day'."

"But then she moved to Spain and changed completely. She became much more professional.''
(Via ESPN; Image via BBC Sport/AP)

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