Dinara Safina
Russia

  • Full name Dinara Mikhailovna Safina
  • Birth date April 27, 1986
  • Birth place Moscow
  • Current age 32 years 227 days
  • Height 6 ft
  • Style Strong and powerful forehand but let down by an inconsistent serve
Dinara Safina at the French Open
Profile

When Dinara Safina overtook Serena Williams to become world No.1 for the first time in April 2009, she followed in the footsteps of her older brother Marat Safin to become the first brother and sister to achieve the feat.

She followed her brother onto the tennis court, at the age of three, and soon followed him to Valencia, where he had been sent to train. After becoming the junior singles runner-up at Wimbledon in 2001, Safina won her first WTA title at Sopot in 2002, aged 16 to break into the top 100. The following year she broke into the top 50, with a fourth-round appearance at the US Open.

Further titles indoors at Paris, beating Amelie Mauresmo in the final, and at Prague helped her move up the rankings, and in 2005 she was part of the Russian team that won the Fed Cup, partnering Elena Dementieva to win a decisive doubles match against France's Mary Pierce and Mauresmo.

By 2006, still a teenager, Safina was an established top-20 player, and later that year she made her first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros, and later at the US Open, and in October she made broke into top ten for the first time. The following year she won her first Grand Slam doubles title with Nathalie Dechy, but failed to finish in the top ten.

However, it was 2008 that was Safina's breakthrough year. After a disappointing start to the season, she made her first Grand Slam singles final at Roland Garros, where she lost to Ana Ivanovic. Three titles at Berlin, Los Angeles and Montreal saw her finish the year third, although she had a brief spell at number two. Safina beat world No.1 Jelena Jankovic in the quarter-finals at the Beijing Olympics before reaching the final, where she lost to Elena Dementieva in three sets, and served 17 double faults to take the silver medal.

After cruising to the final at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Safina crumbled in the final, losing 6-0 6-3 against Serena Williams in less than an hour. She topped the rankings in April, and consolidated her status by winning back-to-back titles on clay at Rome and Madrid. However, in her first Grand Slam event as top seed, she reached the final at Roland Garros, but once more collapsed under the pressure and lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-2, double faulting at match point.

After defeating 2006 champion Mauresmo in the fourth round at Wimbledon, Safina crashed out in the semi-final to Venus Williams, winning just one game as she lost in straight sets. After back-to-back second round defeats in Tokyo and Beijing, Safina relinquished her No.1 spot to Serena Williams, and although she briefly regained it two weeks later, she finished the year No. 2 after retiring from the end of season championships with a back injury.

Injuries continued to dog her and she took the decision in October 2011 to retire from the game.

Career high
After knocking Serena Williams off the No. 1 spot, Dinara Safina won back-to-back titles in Rome and Madrid to silence her critics.

Career low
After two consecutive Grand Slam final defeats, Safina was crushed by former champion Venus Williams 6-1 6-0 in the semi-finals at Wimbledon, the worst ever defeat suffered by a reigning world number one

Quotes
"I'm giving 100 percent every day. What else can I do? I do the best I can and just try to stay positive."

"She spends so much time on court. I think she is more professional than all the players together. Nobody believed that she going to be top 10 even two, three years ago. So look where she is right now." Marat Safin defends his sister


Trivia
Despite being one of the hardest working players on the training court, Safina is very lazy off it. She admits she hates walking and often spends hours on the sofa in her hotel room watching television.

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Mar 23, 2011

Dinara Safina climbs into a forehand

Jan 10, 2011

Dinara Safina puts everything into her shot

Aug 30, 2010

Dinara Safina shows her intent

Aug 25, 2010

Daniela Hantuchova congratulates Dinara Safina

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