Friday, May 9, 2008

Dinara victim, please

It's a big deal to take Justine Henin out of a Tier I (or any tier) tournament, and a bigger deal to take her out of a clay tournament. It's a big deal to take a very solid Serena Williams out, too. Dinara Safina just beat them both, back to back, in Berlin. I did not get to see the Henin match, but I watched the Williams match, and the scoreline does not accurately reflect what went on.

How wonderful it must have been to have been in the stands. Both women pulled out all the stops: There was plenty of drama and screaming and fist-pumping and wonderful shot-making. In the end, though, Safina served the best I've ever seen her serve--varying and concealing her serves to the degree that she often had an early advantage over Williams.

Not to take anything away from Serena, though, who was often her brilliant self in this match, creating smooth opportunties and sneaking in shots a lesser player would not have dared to try. But in the end, Safina got back almost everything Williams threw at her, and handled her own serve so deftly, she was able to get to a third set tiebreak and win it.

Safina def. Williams, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6

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