Dinara, who at one stage was dominating every tournament, only to struggle with the mental pressure in Grand Slam finals, is struggling to return to the WTA after two spinal stress fractures and a ruptured muscle that saw her tearily depart Melbourne last year. The Russian star, and sister of retired star Marat Safin, has recently struggled in her first round matches, admittedly against top seeds, in Auckland and Hobart.
Safina, looking for some hope, some signs of improvement, was not to be relieved of her frustration as Kim Clijsters, another top seed, punished Safina 6-0, 6-0.
While Safina has always struggled for confidence, she is now at an all time low after struggling, as players returning from injury do, with unlucky draws as a result of their lower rankings. Safina, with a shakey voice, said in her post match interview that she wants to get back but is at a loss for what to do.
Maybe it’s time for some challenger level matches to get some winning confidence and learn to trust your body again.
In a completely different match with the same results, Ana Ivanovic was beaten by Ekaterina Makarova 3-6, 6-4, 10-8 in a battle to the death that lasted two hours and 47 minutes.
Ivanovic completely lost her form after her 2008 Roland Garros win and has been struggling to find her way ever since. After dropping 5kg recently and working with different coaches, Ivanovic has recently been playing some great tennis.
At the Hopman Cup, she and Novak Djokovic were playing extremely well until they had to withdraw after Ana suffered a stomach muscle strain.
There’s no doubt Ivanovic will be disappointed but she fought back and worked hard to fight off multiple match points but it ultimately wasn’t enough for the returning star.
“Obviously, when I found out my draw last week, my mind has been on this match already for a while. I know that if she plays her best, I have to almost play my best tennis to beat her. That’s what I came out here to do.
I expect my opponent to come out and play their best tennis. She obviously didn’t do that today. But my attitude still was there to try and finish it off and not let her get back in the match, build some confidence, build some rhythm.
Yeah, I think she played her best game at 5 Love in the second set where she started playing her usual game that I’m used to playing against her where she goes down the line with the backhand, where she’s serving bigger first serves.
But, you know, a little late.” – Kim Clijsters
“I don’t know. I didn’t know how to win a point. Basically came to this thing. I didn’t know. I was sitting in the changeover and I was like, okay, at least how can I get a chance to hurt her? There was nothing that I could hurt her.
Embarrassing.” – Dinara Safina
“It’s really to scratch the head and to think what the hell I’m doing. It’s not that I don’t want. I want. There’s no doubt about. I want to come back and I want to play better. But now to find answers how I can come back.” – Dinara Safina