World number one Dinara Safina, still looking for her first Grand Slam win, was her own worst enemy as she struggled against Germany's Kristina Barrois, eventually qualifying for the US Open third round with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-3 win.
AFP - Dinara Safina is still struggling with her serve, spraying shots and talking to herself, but the world number one overcame another roller-coaster performance to reach the third round of the US Open.
The 23-year-old Russian advanced Thursday by defeating Germany's 67th-ranked Kristina Barrois 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-3, in a near-replay of her first-round fight with Australian teen Olivia Rogowska.
"Another tough day at the office," Safina said. "Today was exactly the same situation as the first round. I don't want to play three sets. Don't think I want to lose the first set, be down a break in the third and fight through.
"I have to be more disciplined. I will work on it and we will make sure it's going to be two sets."
Safina made 38 unforced errors, double faulted 15 times, screamed at herself often and generally was her own worst enemy.
"I was serving in some stages better than in the first round," Safina said. "It's better, still not perfect, but I know what's the problem. There's no problem in the technique, just in my head, so I know just to change the chip."
A Safina loss would have seen her match the earliest exit of any women's top seed in US Open history, last year's second-round ouster of Serbian Ana Ivanovic by French qualifier Julie Coin.
Safina, still seeking her first Slam title, battled through to a third-round meeting with 72nd-ranked Czech Petra Kvitova, but did little to silence critics who say that 11-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams is truly the world's best after winning this year's Wimbledon and Australian Open titles.
"Nobody will take it away from me," Safina said of her ranking milestone. "So many players have won a Grand Slam and where are they now? Nowhere. Some you don't even know they won a Grand Slam. You say, 'Oh my gosh, she won.'
"But No. 1 will always stay there. People will remember you by No. 1, not by winning a Grand Slam."
Winning 11 might make someone a bit more memorable, but Safina will gladly set aside the debate and focus on reaching a possible final with defending champion Williams, the Russian saying her long early matches are no handicap.
"I feel fine. No reason not to be," she said. "That's why we have a base that we build, to be ready for anything we have to face during the tournament."
Barrois used a drop volley to set up a forehand winner on break-point for a 2-0 lead in the final set but double faulted away a break in the next game and surrendered another that put Safina ahead 4-3.
But Safina promptly fell behind 0-40 in the eighth game, yelling, "How is that possible?" after a double fault put her down triple break point.
Safina responded by rescuing the game and breaking the German for the victory, taking the match when Barrois double faulted.
Talking to herself during changeovers and screaming at herself after blunders, Safina ripped through the second set after botching the tie-breaker on the last two points, hitting a crosscourt backhand wide and then double faulting to surrender a set in which she hit 70 percent of her first serves.
Date created : 2009-09-03