Safina Beats Dokic To Advance
by Matt Fitzgerald|
Dinara Safina showed she is capable of playing high-caliber tennis, giving tennis fans a clean performance Wednesday evening in Key Biscayne. Playing the first night match at the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open, the former World No. 1 and three-time grand slam finalist defeated Jelena Dokic 6-4, 6-4 to advance into the second round.
She got off to a fast start, breaking Dokic in the opening game. Things slowed down from there. Her first service game seemed to never end but after numerous deuces, she successfully consolidated to move to a 2-0 lead. Serving at 4-3, Safina was broken by Dokic. It did not last however, as the Russian immediately broke back and then served out the set with a second serve ace.
Dokic tried her best to get more involved in the match and began the second set well, breaking Safina early and building a 2-0 lead. She was unable to follow it up with a hold of serve - and the set was leveled at two games apiece. Safina went on to break Dokic again at 4-4 and capped the match off with confident service game, ending the contest with another second serve ace.
Out of this event last year with a back injury, Safina was happy to get a win in Miami. “I'm really happy with my win today, especially because I missed this tournament last year,” Safina said. “I think it was a good match. She played some really great tennis and was on fire because she has been playing well, so it was a good win for me.”
Ranked 91 in the latest WTA rankings, Safina is looking to reestablish herself on the circuit. Playing a solid match tonight, she was satisfied with her performance. "Slowly I am starting to get some matches behind me. I'm still far from being at my best but we are working day by day and with each win it helps me to get closer to where I want to be.”
Her second round opponent is third ranked Vera Zvonareva. The two have played each other 11 times, with Safina holding a 6-5 advantage. But Zvonareva leads 4-1 on hard courts and has elevated herself as one of the premier players on tour. Knowing she’ll be the underdog, Safina hopes to play her best tennis.
“Playing Vera is obviously going to be a tough match, but I have nothing to lose and I just want to go out there, enjoy the match, and hopefully it will be a strong performance and I can pull off a win."
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