Safina Wins Doubles In Kuala Lumpur
Published March 06, 2011 12:00
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Jelena Dokic wasn't the only player to show some vintage form in Malaysia this week. Dinara Safina, ranked No.1 for 26 weeks during 2009 but now No.113 after some well-documented struggles with injury during 2010, won the doubles title at the BMW Malaysian Open.
As a first-time wildcard pairing with Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva, Safina looked strong as they beat No.4 seeds Maria Elena Camerin and Darya Kustova en route to the final at the International-level tournament. Once there they hung tough against young tandem Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and Jessica Moore, 19 and 20 years old, respectively, dropping the middle set but surging ahead 5-0 in the match tie-break and never looking back, 75 26 105.
"It's definitely always nice to win a tournament," Safina said in her post-match presser. "I'm kind of on the way back because I was injured all last year. I'm trying to play as many matches as I can, singles and doubles. So I'm pretty happy with this week - it had been a long time since I last played doubles, too."
Safina won her ninth WTA doubles title, the first since Indian Wells almost exactly three years ago (where she won with Elena Vesnina). It was her first WTA title of any kind since Portoroz in July 2009 (and first final of any kind since Cincinnati that summer, where she was runner-up to Jelena Jankovic).
Safina had lost her last six matches in a row in singles coming into Kuala Lumpur as well, but beat China's Han Xinyun in the first round to snap out of that. In the second round she pushed No.5 seed Lucie Safarova to three sets before falling, 63 46 63.
"I was pretty surprised how well she was playing today," Safarova commented after the match. "I think she's on her way back to her former tennis."
Asked about her goals moving forward, Safina said she hasn't set any. "I just want to go out there and enjoy each match. When you're injured it's hard to enjoy yourself; now I'm free of injuries I can do that. I have a smile again."
Voskoboeva won her first WTA title of any kind. The Kazakh returned to tennis in January following a right shoulder injury lay-off that had kept her out of action since May 2010. She and Safina were a doubles pair for the first time.