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A complicated last 16 awaits Aravane Rezai

Text by Emmanuel VERSACE , , special correspondent at the French Open

Latest update : 2009-05-31

Playing for the first time in the fourth round of the French Open, France’s Aravane Rezai faces top-ranked player Dinara Safina. It's a big challenge for Rezai, who has only won a single title in her career.

For the first time in her career, Aravane Rezai has reached the fourth round of the French Open. It’s a huge deal for the 22-year-old, who is on the upswing since her victory at Strasbourg.

 

On the battleground, the French player is showing herself to be an ever stronger player. Just before her Strasbourg victory, she managed to move in to the second round in Rome, followed by a round in Madrid. At the beginning of the tennis season, she got as far as the semi-finals in Auckland. Including her victory against Michelle Larcher de Brito, Rezai has a total of eight victories to boast of this season.

 

But are these strong indications of her mettle against tournament favourite Dinara Safina, from Russia? Having attained the number one ranking on April 20, Safina made it to three out of three finals in previous tournaments, winning two of them (Rome and Madrid).

 

On the court, the Russian player displays force, both fluid and aggressive, that always throws her opponents off guard. Since the start of the Open, the little sister of Marat Safin has only lost four matches.

 

Safina seems unfazed by the prospect of facing Rezai. “I’ll play as I always have; I’ll be aggressive [...] we will see who is the stronger player between us,” Safina said in a press conference.

 

Rezai can count on support from the crowd at the Phillipe-Chatrier court, but this may not be enough to help her defeat the mighty Russian player who is determined to win a Grand Slam.

Date created : 2009-05-31