Dinara Safina

Dinara Mikhailovna Safina (Динара Мөбин кызы Сафина; Dinara Möbin qızı Safina; Дина́ра Миха́йловна (Муби́новна) Са́фина), born April 27, 1986, is a Russian professional tennis player of Tatar ethnicity. As of October 6, 2008, she is ranked World No. 3 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). She has won one Grand Slam title, the women's double title at the 2007 U.S. Open with her partner Nathalie Dechy and reached one Grand Slam singles final at the 2008 French Open. She is also an Olympic silver medalist at the 2008 games in Beijing. She is the younger sister of former world number one men's player, Marat Safin.

Early career

She was born in Moscow, Russia to Tatar parents. She was coached by Glen Schaap, former trainer of Nadia Petrova. Her new coach is Željko Krajan. Her mother, Rauza Islanova used to be her trainer when she was younger and still gives advice to Dinara. Dinara Safina's father is director of the Spartak tennis club in Moscow.

Tennis career

On July 29, 2002, she entered into the top 100. She also won her first WTA title in Sopot, beating Henrieta Nagyová in the final. In doing so she became the youngest Tour champion in four years and the first qualifier to win a title in three years. In the same year, at the age of 16 in Moscow, she defeated a top 20 player for the first time, (Silvia Farina Elia), who was seeded 14th.

On July 14, 2003, she broke into the top 50. She won her second WTA title over Katarina Srebotnik in Palermo. In that season as well, she reached the fourth round at the 2003 US Open and also reached the quarterfinals at Doha, Sopot and Shanghai. She beat defending champion Magdalena Maleeva, in Moscow.

At the 2004 Australian Open, Safina upset Amanda Coetzer of South Africa before losing to Kim Clijsters of Belgium. For the first time, Dinara finished the year in the Top 50, and reached third career final at Luxembourg where she lost against Alicia Molik.

Dinara Safina won the singles title at an indoor event in Paris, beating Amelie Mauresmo.

Partnering with Elena Dementieva, she won the doubles rubber in the Fed cup final in 2005. She defeated World No. 1 Maria Sharapova in the QF of the 2005 Kremlin Cup, winning 1–6, 6–4, 7–5.

In 2006, Safina reached the tier I Rome final by defeating top 10 players Kim Clijsters, Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova, beaten only by resurgent Martina Hingis 6–2, 7–5.

At the 2006 French Open, Safina made the quarterfinals for the first time in her career. In the fourth round, she beat number four seed Maria Sharapova 7–5, 2–6, 7–5. In the third set, she trailed 1–5 but won after almost hours of play.

To kick off the grass season, following her strong performance on clay, she reached her first grass court final at the Ordina Open, losing to Michaella Krajicek 6–3, 6–4.

During the 2006 US Open, she again reached a grand slam quarterfinal, this time losing to Amelie Mauresmo. She met with greater success in doubles, where she reached the final with partner Katarina Srebotnik.

Safina reached two finals, two semifinals, and nine quarterfinals in 2006.


Safina won her debut tournament in 2007, in Gold Coast, Australia, defeating Shahar Peer 4–6, 7–6(1), 6–1 in the semifinal and Martina Hingis 6–3 3–6 7–5 in the final. Following the 5–0 start to the year, she lost her sixth match of the year to Nicole Pratt 4–6, 6–3, 6–2 in the Sydney tournament. Safina would then finish her Australian season at the third round of the Australian Open, losing to Li Na 6–2 6–2.

Safina reached the quarterfinals at her next two tournaments in Paris and Antwerp, losing to the eventual champions at both—Nadia Petrova in Paris and Amélie Mauresmo in Antwerp.

Safina lost in the third round of her first Tier I event of the year in Indian Wells to Marion Bartoli 6–4, 6–3, and lost in the fourth round at the next Tier I event in Miami to Petrova again 3–6, 6–2, 6–4.

Safina reached her fourth quarterfinal of the year at her first clay event in Amelia Island, Florida, losing to Petrova for the third time in 2007. And at her third Tier I event in Charleston, South Carolina, she would reach her second final of the year, with retirements by Tatiana Golovin and Vera Zvonareva in the quarterfinal and semifinal, losing to Jelena Janković 6–2, 6–2. Safina's consistent results on clay continued in Berlin and Rome, reaching the quarterfinals at both events. At the French Open, she lost to Serena Williams 6–2, 6–3 in the fourth round.

Safina lost a three-set thriller to Janković in the semifinal of the Ordina Open in s-'Hertogenbosch 6–3, 3–6, 7–6(6), having had a match point in the tiebreaker. Following that loss, she was upset by Akiko Morigami in the second round of Wimbledon and lost in the second round of both the Acura Classic and East West Bank Classic, to Sania Mirza and Kateryna Bondarenko respectively.

Safina won the women's double title at the 2007 U.S. Open with her partner Nathalie Dechy 6–4, 6–2. Dechy was the defending champion who had beat Safina in the previous final to win the 2006 title.


Safina travelled to the 2008 Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts tournament in Gold Coast, Australia, kicking off her season on the 2008 WTA Tour defending her singles and doubles titles from 2007. In the singles as third seed she lost in the quarterfinals to Shahar Peer but in the doubles she succeeded playing with Ágnes Szávay. With a #3 seeding, they won the tournament after defeating Yuliana Fedak and Aiko Nakamura 6–3, 6–2 in the first round, Nadia Petrova and Elena Vesnina 6–3, 6–4 in the quarterfinals, top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber 6–3, 6–1 in the semifinals and second seeds Yan Zi and Zheng Jie 6–1, 6–2 in the final.

At the Qatar Telecom German Open, Safina beat German wildcard Julia Goerges 6–3, 6–4 in the first round and Estonian Kaia Kanepi 6–4, 6–3 in the second round. In the third round, she faced World No.1 and top seed Justine Henin. Despite holding a 0-5 head to head record with the Belgian, Safina managed to battle from being 5–7, 0–2 down to win the match 5–7, 6–3, 6–1. This victory was Safina's 2nd career victory over a reigning world No.1. This also made Safina the last player ever to play against and beat Henin before she retired. She then went on to break Serena Williams's 17 match win streak in 3 sets, making her an on form favourite for the title. In the final, Safina defeated countrywoman Elena Dementieva 3–6, 6–2, 6–2 to win her first Tier I title.

In the fourth round of the French Open, Safina defeated compatriot and World No. 1 Maria Sharapova 6–7, 7–6, 6–2, saving a match point at 5–3 down in the second set, marking her second victory over a World No. 1 in less than two months. In the quarter-finals, Dinara battled back from the brink of defeat for a second straight match to earn a place in her first Grand Slam semi-final at the French Open, coming from 5–2 down in the second set to defeat Elena Dementieva 4–6, 7–6, 6–0. She entered her first grand slam final by beating Svetlana Kuznetsova 6–3, 6–2 in a one-sided semi-final match at Roland Garros. In the final she was beaten 6–4, 6–3 by Ana Ivanovic from Serbia. After Roland Garros, Safina became the only player ranked inside the top 10 in both singles and doubles.

She then participated in a Tier III in s'Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, where she was seeded third. She defeated Pauline Parmentier 6–4, 6–1. In the third round she defeated Camille Pin 6–1, 6–4, and received a walkover into the semis after Katarina Srebotnik withdrew with an ankle injury. There she defeated world number 5 Elena Dementieva 6–3, 6–2. She lost in the final to Tamarine Tanasugarn 7–5, 6–3.

At the 2008 Wimbledon Championships, she lost to Shahar Peer in the third round 7–5, 6–7, 8–6, saving a match point in the second set and serving for the match herself in the third set at 5–4. Safina struggled with a thigh injury during the closing stages of the match, and finished the match with a double fault to give Peer victory.

Her next scheduled event is the East West Bank Classic in Carson, California where she is the 4th seed. She received a first round bye. Then, in the 2nd round she defeated Shuai Peng 6–2, 6–2. In the 3rd round, she defeated Alla Kudryavtseva 7–6(1), 0–6, 7–6(3) having saved match point in the 3rd set. In the quarterfinals she defeated Victoria Azarenka 6–3, 6–1. Safina then defeated number 1 seed Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals. Safina then defeated Flavia Pennetta in the final 6–4, 6–2, moving up to #8 in the world, her career high at the time. After this win, Safina became only 1 of 3 players this season to save match point and win the title.

At the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada, she was seeded 7th. After a bye in the first round, Safina defeated Anastasia Rodionova 6–2, 6–4 in the second, Patty Schnyder 6–2, 6–2 in the third. In the quarters, she defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 2–6, 6–3, 6–2, coming back from a break down in both the second and third sets. She then went on to defeat Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals 6–0, 2–6, 6–3. In the Finals, she defeated Dominika Cibulkova to capture her second Tier I title of the year and her career. With this win, she rose to world #6, her highest career ranking. Due to this victory she also won the Olympus US Open Series, meaning she will be playing for bonus money in the US Open.

She then took part in the Beijing Olympics as one of the favourites. Seeded sixth, she beat Mara Santangelo 6–3, 7–6 in the first round andMaria Jose Martinez Sanchez 7–6, 6–1 in the second round. Then in the third round she beat recent Wimbledon semi-finalist Zheng Jie 6–4, 6–3. She then beat World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 6–2, 5–7, 6–3 in the quarters, her third win over a current no. 1 this year alone. Safina is the first player in history to beat three different reigning No.1s in the same season beating Justine Henin at the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros, and Jelena Jankovic at the Beijing Olympics. In the semis, she defeated home crowd favourite Li Na 7–6(3), 7–5. In the gold medal match, Safina lost to Elena Dementieva 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, in a match where she served 17 double faults.

At the US Open, Safina was seeded 6th and was one of five women able to take over the World Number 1 ranking. In the first round she beat Kristie Ahn 6-1, 6-4, and followed it up with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Roberta Vinci. In the third round she beat Timea Bacsinszky 3-6, 7-5, 6-2. She beat Anna-Lena Groenefeld 7-5, 6-0 in the 4th round. She followed that with a crushing 6-2, 6-3 victory over Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals. She was defeated by Serena Williams in the semifinals, 6-3,6-2. Her semi-final appearance pushed her up to a career best of #5.

At the Tier I in Toyko, she was seeded fourth and received a first round bye and defeated Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 6-4 in the second round. In the quarter finals she beat Kaia Kanepi 6-4, 6-7, 6-2. Then in the semi finals she won against Nadia Petrova 6-1, 6-0, to make her seventh final of the year. In the final she defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-3. She also rose up to a career high of #3 in the world rankings after her victory.

At Stuttgart she was seeded 3rd, and a received a bye in the second round where she defeated Tsvetana Pironkova 6-1, 7-6. She was defeated by Venus Williams in the quarter finals, 6-4, 6-2, which was their first meeting.

Grand Slam finals


Runner-up (1)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
2008 French Open Ana Ivanovic 6–4, 6–3


Winner (1)

Year Championship Partnering Opponents in Final Score in Final
2007 U.S. Open Nathalie Dechy Yung-Jan Chan
Chia-Jung Chuang
6–4, 6–2

Runner-up (1)

Year Championship Partnering Opponents in Final Score in Final
2006 U.S. Open Katarina Srebotnik Nathalie Dechy
Vera Zvonareva
7–6, 7–5

Titles (17)

Singles wins (9)

Grand Slam (0)
WTA Championships (0)
Tier I (3)
Tier II (2)
Tier III (2)
Tier IV (2)
No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. July 27, 2002 Sopot, Poland Clay Henrieta Nagyová 6–3, 4–0 ret.
2. July 13, 2003 Palermo, Italy Clay Katarina Srebotnik 6–3, 6–4
3. February 13, 2005 Paris, France Carpet (i) Amélie Mauresmo 6–4, 2–6, 6–3
4. May 15, 2005 Prague, Czech Republic Clay Zuzana Ondrášková 7–6(2), 6–3
5. January 6, 2007 Gold Coast, Australia Hard Martina Hingis 6–3, 3–6, 7–5
6. May 11, 2008 Berlin, Germany Clay Elena Dementieva 3–6, 6–2, 6–2
7. July 27, 2008 Los Angeles, California, United States Hard Flavia Pennetta 6–4, 6–2
8. August 3, 2008 Montreal, Canada Hard Dominika Cibulkova 6–2, 6–1
9. September 21, 2008 Tokyo, Japan Hard Svetlana Kuznetsova 6–1, 6–3

Doubles (8)

No. Date Tournament Surface Partnering Opponents in the final Score
1. September 26, 2004 Beijing, China Hard Emmanuelle Gagliardi Gisela Dulko
Maria Vento-Kabchi
6–4, 6–4
2. June 18, 2005 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands Grass Anabel Medina Garrigues Iveta Benešová
Nuria Llagostera Vives
6–4, 2–6, 7–611
3. January 7, 2006 Gold Coast, Australia Hard Meghann Shaughnessy Cara Black
Rennae Stubbs
6–2, 6–3
4. February 19, 2006 Antwerp, Belgium Carpet Indoor Katarina Srebotnik Stéphanie Foretz
Michaëlla Krajicek
6–1, 6–1
5. January 6, 2007 Gold Coast, Australia Hard Katarina Srebotnik Iveta Benešová
Galina Voskoboeva
6–3, 6–4
6. September 9, 2007 U.S. Open, New York City, U.S. Hard Nathalie Dechy Yung-Jan Chan
Chia-Jung Chuang
6–4, 6–2
7. January 5, 2008 Gold Coast, Australia Hard Ágnes Szávay Yan Zi
Zheng Jie
6–1, 6–2
8. March 22, 2008 Indian Wells, California, U.S. Hard Elena Vesnina Yan Zi
Zheng Jie
6–1, 1–6, [10]-[8]


Olympic Silver (1)
Grand Slam (1)
WTA Championships (0)
Tier I (2)
Tier II (0)
Tier III (3)
Tier IV (0)

Singles finalist (7)

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. October 31, 2004 Luxembourg City, Luxembourg Hard (i) Alicia Molik 6–3, 6–4
2. May 21, 2006 Rome, Italy Clay Martina Hingis 6–2, 7–5
3. June 24, 2006 s-'Hertogenbosch, Netherlands Grass Michaëlla Krajicek 6–3, 6–4
4. April 15, 2007 Charleston, South Carolina, USA Clay Jelena Janković 6–2, 6–2
5. June 7, 2008 French Open, Paris Clay Ana Ivanovic 6–4, 6–3
6. June 21, 2008 s-'Hertogenbosch, Netherlands Grass Tamarine Tanasugarn 7–5, 6–3
7. August 17, 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing Hard Elena Dementieva 3–6, 7–5, 6–3

Singles performance timeline

Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Career Win-Loss
Australian Open A A A 1R 3R 2R 2R 3R 1R 6–6
French Open A A A 1R 2R 1R QF 4R F 14–6
Wimbledon A A LQ 1R 1R 3R 3R 2R 3R 7–6
US Open A A 2R 4R 1R 1R QF 4R SF 11-6
Grand Slam Win-Loss 0-0 0-0 3-2 3-4 3-4 3-4 11-4 9-4 13-4 47-26
WTA Tour Championships A A A A A A A A 0–0
Doha1 Not Tier I 3R 4–2
Indian Wells A A A 1R A 3R QF 3R 3R 6–5
Miami A A A 2R 2R 2R 2R 4R QF 6–6
Charleston A A A A A A QF F 3R 7–3
Berlin A A A 2R 1R 2R QF QF W 15–5
Rome A A A 2R 2R A F QF A 11–4
Montréal/Toronto A A A A A 2R SF 3R W 11–3
Tokyo A A A A A A A A W 4–0
Moscow A LQ 2R 2R 2R SF 1R SF SF 12–8
Tournaments Won 0 1 1 1 0 2 0 1 4 9
Year End Ranking None 394 68 54 44 20 11 16 N/A
A = did not participate in the tournament

LQ = lost in the qualifying competition for the tournament

  • 1 As of 2008, Doha became a Tier I tournament, replacing San Diego and Zurich.


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