Dinara Safina looks to make it third time lucky

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
The womens French Open Final takes place tomorrow (Photo: Sergey Smirnov)

The women's French Open Final takes place tomorrow (Photo: Sergey Smirnov)

Marat Safin’s younger sister is bracing herself for the third Grand Slam final of her career tomorrow.

Dinara Safina secured her progression to a second consecutive French Open final yesterday, to set up a encounter with compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The 23-year-old defeated Czechoslovakian Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 6-3 in a disjointed affair. Despite numerous unforced errors by the world number one, she escaped without punishment as Cibulkova failed to capitalize on her careless mistakes.

After handing former world number one Maria Sharapova a thrashing in the quarter-finals, the Czechoslovakian failed to recreate her fine form in the semi-final. Safina made the most of any errors by her opponent.

It will be her third Grand Slam final in two years. The first came when she was defeated in this competition against Ana Ivanovic last year. The Serbian won in straight sets, a disappointing end to a tournament in which Safina had shown courage and resilience when she was required to come from behind on more than one occasion.

After a solid end to 2008, Safina entered the 2009 season full of confidence. This was reflected with her performance at the Australian Open in January. She progressed to the final after some convincing performances along the way.

However once again she failed to be crowned champion. Serena Williams stormed to victory, winning the match in a mere 59 minutes (6-0, 6-3). Had the Russian won the game she would have reached the pinnacle of woman’s tennis obtaining the number one crown.

So with the French Open final this Saturday could it be third time lucky for the tenacious Safina? She will face a tough opponent in fellow Russian, Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Kuznetsova, currently ranked world number seven, is double US Open finalist, once as the winner and once as the runner up, as well as losing in a French Open final. One of the fittest players on the woman’s tour she is well-suited to the demanding conditions of the clay courts.

She is a renowned fierce opponent on all surfaces, with a powerful forehand. Yet she is often subject to nerves and regularly succumbs to the pressure in her most important matches.

Subsequently, at 4/11 the bookmakers have placed current world number one Safina as the clear pre-match favourite. Speaking to the media after her victory in the semi-finals, she said she is focused on finally winning a grand slam.

“I really want to win it,” admitted Safina. “I am more and more tense.”

“I had a great experience here last year and I just need to do a little bit better. I am just going to go for it.”

MORE:

MORE: The latest football news

MORE: The latest tennis news

BIOGRAPHY: Ethan Hazard

BIOGRAPHY: Daniel Sturridge

Exclusive interview
The Sport Review
Exclusive interview: John Barnes on why Roberto Firmino is Liverpool FC’s most important player
The Sport Review
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Meet Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s girlfriend Amine Gulse
The Sport Review
Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house with us
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Chelsea, Arsenal stars feature – Slideshow
The Sport Review
Meet Chelsea FC star Andreas Christensen’s girlfriend Katrine Friis
The Sport Review
Roy Keane replies when asked if Man United should sack Jose Mourinho
The Sport Review
Maurizio Sarri issues Chelsea FC fans with Eden Hazard injury update
The Sport Review
Gary Neville makes prediction about Jose Mourinho at Man United