Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Beijing 2008 Olympics

Safina becomes heavy favorite for Olympic gold

BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Russia's world No. 7 Dinara Safina has become a heavy favorite for the Beijing Olympic tennis event as she beat Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-1 to claim the Montreal Cup on Sunday and her second title in a row.

Safina, who is enjoying one of the most productive runs of her career, needed just one hour and eight minutes to beat unseeded Cibulkova. Last week, she claimed a WTA title in Los Angeles.

"I think my experience helped me a bit in the final, I'm sure Dominika's time will come soon though," an elated Safina told the WTA official website.

"It's the first time in my life I have won tournaments back-to-back, Usually I would win a tournament and the next week I would lose in the first round.

"So I was happy when I won the first match and then I was just taking it one match at a time."

Safina becomes the fourth player this season to win three Tour singles titles, following Maria Sharapova (Australian Open, Doha and Amelia Island), Serena Williams (Bangalore, Miami and Charleston) and Agnieszka Radwanska (Pattaya City, Istanbul and Eastbourne).

She has 28 wins and just three losses in the past three months. During that stretch she defeated nine players ranked in the top 10.

Safina will compete in the Olympic tennis event slated for Aug. 10-17 with compatriots Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva and Vera Zvonareva.

Russia has just lost world number four Maria Sharapova due to her shoulder injury.