The grasscourt Grand Slam is just days away and former world No.1 Dinara Safina is not going there with much confidence. The Russian, now ranked outside the Top 20, at No.21, who was a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, has lost five successive matches: second round in Stuttgart to Shahar Peer, and then opening matches to Alexandra Dulgheru in Rome, Klara Zakopalova in Madrid, Kimiko Date Krumm at the French Open and the one yesterday on the grass of the Unicef Open to Magdalena Rybarikova.
World No.45 Rybarikova had entered the match at the Unicef Open with a 0-2 record against Safina, but the Slovakian converted five of her 11 break chances, compared to Safina’s three of 11, and edged the second seed 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 in the first round. Safina could find consolation in the fact that Rybarikova’s sole Tour title came on grass, in Birmingham.
Additional info: Safina’s former coach Zeljko Krajan is now coaching Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova, who beat 16-year-old Brit Laura Robson 6-3 6-4 to advance to the Unicef Open second round. (photo: chascow)