I'm a little late, I know, but I felt I needed to wade into the whole Dinara Safina losing to Aravane Rezai really early in Toronto incident.
Sure, it's another symptom of MaratHeadCaseitis. But I also think it might be a good thing.
Dinara's been melting down a lot, yeah? But she's been getting deep in tournaments, yeah? Finals in Roland Garros, semis in Wimbledon, finals in Cincinatti - she's getting to the pointy ends of tournaments, she's just not holding up the trophy. But this time, the meltdown has come pretty early on - which seems to be a sign that things are getting worse...
...before, I think, they get better.
Rather than just storming around and going 'why am I such a chicken?' in big matches, the fact that she's lost one of the little matches she normally storms through - remember how she only lost five games in the first four rounds of Paris? - will prompt her, I think, to take a good long look at her game, and, in particular, her serve. The serve is really what's letting her down - she served seventeen double faults against Rezai. It's that crazy high ball toss of hers - it's got to go.
I don't know if we can expect too much to change between now and the US Open - but I'd really like to see this match send a message to Dinara. When she comes back after the Christmas break, I hope and I think we'll see real evidence that she's worked on that serve, because she is so good that that really shouldn't be a liability. She's talented enough to do anything she puts her mind to - I really want to see evidence of a lesson learned.
Western and Southern Financial Group Masters (Cincinatti)
Roger Federer def. David Ferrer, 3-6 6-3 6-4
Andy Murray def. Radek Stepanek, 6-4 6-1
Novak Djokovic def. Jeremy Chardy, 7-5 6-3
Lleyton Hewitt def. Sam Querrey, 6-1 2-6 6-3
Rogers Cup (Toronto)
Alisa Kleybanova def. Aravane Rezai, 6-3 6-4
Agnieszka Radwanska def. Kateryna Bondarenko, 7-5 6-3
Samantha Stosur def. Virginie Razzano, 6-3 6-1
Elena Dementieva def. Shahar Peeer, 6-1 1-6 6-4
Lucie Safarova def. Jie Zheng, 7-6 (7-3) 6-4
Serena Williams def. Alona Bondarenko, 6-1 6-4
3 weeks ago