Maria Sharapova and Dinara Safina are the only two Russian WTA players to-date that have been ranked #1 in singles. But that seems like another lifetime ago as both have fallen far short of former glory in recent years. Sharapova, while showing signs of life in 2010, had not started 2011 as well as she would have liked, while Safina had completely fallen apart, suffering a 6-0 6-1 drubbing early in the year to Marion Bartoli and an embarrassing 6-0 6-0 whitewash against Kim Clijsters. Well, that was yesterday. Now it’s today and one would do well not to count out either player. Coming off a tough three hour match in the previous round, Sharapova rolled past error-prone Aravane Revai in the third round 6-2 6-2, rekindling memories of a once dominant champion. Awaiting the three-time Major champion in the fourth round will be the other former Russian #1 Dinara Safina.
Safina was hardly perfect, as she committed 16 double faults in her upset of 4th-seeded Samantha Stosur. But her 7-6 (2) 6-4 win marked her first victory against a top 4 opponent since 2008 (Jelena Jankovic, Beijing Olympics) and her first three match win streak in over a year. It’s hard to fathom that Safina, once the top player in the world, had not won three matches in a row in over 12 months. But that’s the baggage she shed with her upset of Stosur. However, 16 double faults is not a recipe for continued success. If Safina serves that erratically in the fourth round, she won’t beat Sharapova.
Singles – Third Round
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (28) María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) 61 63
Dinara Safina (RUS) d. (4) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 76(2) 64
(8) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 76(3) 63
(9) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (24) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 60 26 75
(22) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. (13) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 63 64
(16) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (20) Aravane Rezai (FRA) 62 62
(18) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. (WC) Christina McHale (USA) 36 64 62
Peng Shuai (CHN) d. (Q) Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 63 46 75
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