Taking some time off and falling down the rankings is the best thing that has happened to Dinara Safina in a long time.
She's not a US Open contender. I'm not even going to begin to claim that. But now, in her post-Zeljko days, in the slow comeback crawl, I'm getting the feeling that Dinara is starting to put a few pieces together. It's only one match, but do you think the Dinara of three months ago would have been able to tough out Nadia Petrova 6-4 in the third set? No, I didn't think so either.
I don't want to make mountains out of molehills, but you kind of have to when it comes to Dinara. What I really want to see make a comeback, because it's what got her to #1 in the first place, is that you-have-to-shoot-me-to-win mentality. That's the mentality that got her past Sharapova and Dementieva at the French Open in 2008 and shot her into the final. It was what she had in the early days with Zeljko - fire and vim and determination - and what she hasn't had in a while now.
I was sad when she and Zeljko broke up. But now, in the aftermath of that destructive, apocalyptic relationship, I can definitely see that it was best. Dinara's finding herself again. She's finding the good. Or at least she did in this one match. She dug in her heels and didn't give in and toughed it out and from where I stand, that is nothing but a positive sign from her. Determination is key.
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago