Is Safina the next numero uno?

With Dinara Safina’s win over the weekend in Tokyo she moved up to a career high of #3 in the world and is now only 344 points behind current #1 Serena Williams. This puts her in a position to make a run for the top spot if she can continue to play at her current level.

Let’s take a look back at her year. She began 2008 ranked #15 in the world and having never been past the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam. She didn’t come out of the gates red hot, as she fell in the first round of the Australian Open and didn’t get to the quarters of any tournament until Miami (late March). It was at Berlin in mid-May where she made her mark. Oddly enough she beat Justine Henin in the third round, in what turned out to be the last match of her career, then defeated Serena Williams Victoria Azarenka, and Elena Dementieva to claim the title.

She used that momentum to catapult herself into the finals of the French Open. Despite the loss, she didn’t let that deter her. She won two out of the next four tournaments she played in, went to the finals of the Olympics, the semis of the US Open, and then won the aforementioned tourney in Tokyo. Beginning with the tournament in Berlin she has an amazing 42-5 record.

So, will she overtake Jelena and Serena in the top spot? Svetlana Kuznetsova, who lost to Safina in the finals at Tokyo seems to think so. She said that Dinara has bigger strokes than Jelena and plays more than Serena which will help her garner more points. To me, it comes down to her mental preparation. Like her elder brother Marat, she is known to get a little mad and that can really throw her off her game. If she can remain focused like she has in the past couple of months I see no reason why she can’t challenge those girls for the top spot.

I will say that when Serena is on there is no one better, and when Jelena is moving at her best no one can play defense like her. Safina certainly has her work cut out for her, but I could see her moving into the poll position by the end of 2008.

What do you think?

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~ by Nick's Picks on September 22, 2008.

5 Responses to “Is Safina the next numero uno?”

  1. Well, if Janković could get to #1 on the strength of a couple of Major semi-finals, then I suppose anything’s possible in terms of the WTA #1 ranking, which rewards consistency. But the true #1 will be one of the four players who won a Major this year.

    Maria Sharapova richly deserves to be thought of as the true #1, due to her stunning start to 2008 (she won her first 18 matches, including her third Major at the Australian Open) before that shoulder-injury ruined the rest of her season.

  2. YOU PEOPLE, YOU NEVER LEARN DO YOU? CONTINUE TO UNDERESTIMATE THE WILLIAM SISTERS AT YOUR PERIL! I PREDICT VENUS AND SERENA WILL CONTINUE TO DOMINATE AND HAVE A LOCK ON THE #1 AND 2 POSITIONS IN THE COMING MONTHES, THEY HAVE ALREADY SIGNALED A RETURN TO FORM, AND BOTH HAS INDICATED PLAYING A LOT MORE TENNIS SO….

  3. I also feel bad for Maria but I think Safina can do it if she doesn’t lose it mentally and physically, I think she’s played the most tournaments of all the potential #1s this season so far. And she hasn’t performed too well on the bigger moments like the Olympics, and the USO, but I do forgive her for them since the Olympics was her 2nd big final after RG and losing to Serena is nothing to be ashamed of.

  4. I think the world no.1 position will be available for quite awhile before someone dominate the top position.

    With Safina playing on many tournaments compare to the Williams sisters, and hitting bigger strokes than other players like Jelena Jankovic, Safina is heading to the right direction.

  5. I don’t know whether safina is gonna be No.1. But I saw her playing in Ariake last week. no doubt she was really awesome.

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