Safina seeks credibility with semis run
LONDON: Dinara Safina insisted nobody could now question her world number one status as she made it into the Wimbledon semi-finals.
The Russian, who has never won a Grand Slam title, has now reached at least the semi-finals in all of the last four majors and is adamant that fact alone proves she has consistently been a top player over the last 12 months.
And she insisted she had the "weapons" to shoot down defending champion Venus Williams in the semi-finals.
The top seed reached the Wimbledon last four for the first time on Tuesday with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-1 win over unseeded German teenager Sabine Lisicki.
"I guess now the people cannot say why I'm the number one without a Grand Slam title," the 23-year-old said.
"All four Grand Slams I have been in the semis, so I think it's something impressive." Lisicki backed up Safina's assessment.
"She's the number one in the world. She has been in Grand Slam finals, so she has earned the top spot in the rankings. She has worked very hard for it. I respect her a lot," the 19-year-old said.
Safina said she was not daunted by facing five-time Wimbledon champion Williams next.
"Definitely this is her best surface. She loves playing here in Wimbledon," the Muscovite said.
"I have nothing to lose. I played her in Rome and I beat her in Rome. So I know what she's doing. I know her weapons. I have my weapons. So I just want to go out there, play my best.
"Don't misunderstand that I have nothing to lose because I am playing her.
"I cannot go on court thinking I lost already. No, definitely I think I have a chance there. And, I know what I have to do on the court, and I want to do it next match.
"If I play my best and she plays the best, it's 50-50 who going to win the match. I don't think if I play my best tennis and she plays her best tennis that she's the favourite. I think I still have a chance." Despite losing the first set by double-faulting on a tie-break, Safina recovered to beat world number 41 Lisicki in two hours, 28 minutes on Centre Court.
Safina sent down 15 double faults in total.
"Sometimes even I don't know what I'm doing with my serve," she said.
"I say, OK, go down, go up, do this. Then I toss the ball and I'm already by the fence running.
"It's just my brain sometimes doesn't do the things that I have to do.
"I don't know what's exactly there, what problems." Lisicki, had an impressive run to the quarter-finals. She knocked out 32nd seed Anna Chakvetadze, French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova then ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki.
The emerging youngster, who had never been beyond the third round of a Grand Slam or the first round at Wimbledon before, said she bowed out on a high note.
"I had a great tournament. Nobody expected it to happen, including myself. Of course, I'm sad that I lost. But I gave it all that I had and I fought hard," she said.