Safina ousted in Toronto

Dinara Safina reacts during her loss to Aravane Rezai at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

Dinara Safina reacts during her loss to Aravane Rezai at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.  

Top-ranked Dinara Safina committed 17 double faults in losing to Aravane Rezai of France 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the second round of the Rogers Cup.

Maria Sharapova also made 17 double faults but beat Austria’s Sybille Bammer 6-3, 7-6 (5).

Safina, who’d conceded only one game to Rezai at the French Open, was broken three straight times in the third and deciding set, slamming her racket on the ground after the final point and barely acknowledging Rezai when they met at the net after the match. Anger gave way to tears afterward, as the Russian fought her emotions while trying to explain how the match got away.

“It’s my brain,” said Safina, who lost an opening match for the first time since February. “I know exactly what I have to do, but if I’m not using my brain, I’m not doing the things my coach is telling me . . . (I’m) too disappointed with myself.”

Also out were eighth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark to Zheng Jie of China 7-5, 6-3, ninth-seeded Victoria Azarenka to Kim Clijsters 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 11{+t}{+h}-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia to the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, and No. 12 Flavia Pennetta to Virginie Razzano of France 6-3, 6-1.

Second-seeded Serena Williams bucked the trend by cruising into the third round with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova. Williams broke away with a run of eight straight points in the second set, and took a commanding 5-2 lead with a lunging forehand winner that left her doing the splits, and pumping her fist in jubilation.

“I’m really flexible,” Williams said. “I love doing the splits off the court . . . I never really expect to do it on the court per se. On the hardcourt sometimes you can slide, and before you know it you just do the splits.

“It was a great moment. I was like ‘Oh my God,’ I couldn’t believe I hit the ball down the line and won the point. I was so shocked.”

Williams, who closed things out on serve one game later, will next face Alona Bondarenko, Kateryna’s sister.

“They’re great players,” Williams said of the Bondarenko sisters. “They do well in doubles. It’ll be a good match, and I look forward to it.” Also advancing were No. 4 Elena Dementieva, who cruised past Japan’s Ai Sugiyama 6-3, 6-2, No. 5 Jelena Jankovic, who topped Switzerland’s Patty Schnyder 7-5, 6-4, and No. 7 Vera Zvonareva, who downed Italy’s Roberta Vinci 6-3, 6-3.

Zvonareva will next meet unseeded Sharapova, who was on the comeback trail from surgery to her serving shoulder. Sharapova has reached at least the quarterfinals in four of her five events since returning in May.

“I’m actually having a competition with myself to see how many errors and double-faults I can make and still win the match in two sets,” Sharapova joked. “The fact that I served that way and still won the match in two sets is certainly going to give me a lot of confidence when my arm is where it needs to be and when my serve gets to where it has to be.”

When asked what specifically had gone wrong with her serve, Safina reeled off a list: “Ball toss disaster. I don’t move my legs, I’m jumping backwards instead of jumping forwards, I’m kicking it too much instead of hitting it more, I drop my head, I don’t hold the left arm.

“It’s so much. I know this all, and I’m still so stupid that I’m continuing to do it.” Safina said her coach was so frustrated that he left the court during her match. With less than two weeks left until the U.S. Open, Safina said she will take a few days off.

“I think this is the best ... you know, just to recover, and rest,” she said. “Not much you can do, you know?”

In other action, No. 14 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland routed Agnes Szavay of Hungary 6-1, 6-1, Alisa Kleybanova of Russia edged No. 16 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (4), Shahar Peer of Israel bested Francesca Schiavone of Italy 7-6 (2), 6-4, and Alona Bondarenko cruised past Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia 6-3, 6-0.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 7:18:00 PM |

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