Safina eases into Roland Garros final
Dinara Safina spared herself yet another drama to book her first grand slam final place when she saw off fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-2 in the semifinal on Thursday.
The younger sister of two-times grand slam winner Marat Safin will meet either Jelena Jankovic or Ana Ivanovic, both from Serbia, on Saturday.
“I’m still here today,” said Safina, who had recovered from match point in the two previous rounds against compatriots Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva.
“I am really happy because I played well today. I feel it’s amazing. I was taking it just day by day and the less you expect, the more you get.”
“I’m doing it for him and for myself, I’m doing it for the family,” she added, referring to her brother, who has never reached the final at Roland Garros but won the US Open in 2000 and the Australian Open three years ago.
Safina said she would be ready to dig deep in the final but she was not stretched by Kuznetsova on Thursday.
She held her nerve and it was the fourth seed who showed signs of cracking, sending a ball into the crowd in frustration.
“It was a horrible match.
I could not serve, I could not play my forehand, it was one of my worst matches against her,” said Kuznetsova, who had won her last two matches on clay against Safina, including a 7-6 6-0 quarterfinal win at Roland Garros two years ago.
“She played every ball, she was more consistent.”
The 22-year-old Safina, who applied a treatment cream on a bruised left knee before the start of the match, saved a break point in the first game before stealing her opponent’s serve with a crosscourt backhand winner.
A tense Kuznetsova stayed in the contest courtesy of Safina’s unforced errors but she dropped serve for the third time in the eighth game.
Safina claimed the opening set when the world number four sent a forehand wide after 39 minutes.
She went on to snatch Kuznetsova’s serve to take the early lead in the second set, only for her to serve a couple of double faults that helped the fourth seed catch up.
Safina broke in the fifth game when Kuznetsova netted a forehand and staved off two break points to open a 4-2 lead.
She kept her form as Kuznetsova dropped serve again.
A steaming Safina did not let the opportunity slip from her grasp and sealed the win after one hour and 27 minutes when Kuznetsova sent a forehand wide. - Reuters 2008