Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dinara Safina took the court of Arthur Ashe Stadium with an unwavering focus which, with the exception of brief moments in the middle of both sets, she maintained in her second round match vs. Roberta Vinci of Italy. It paid off with a 6-4, 6-3 win to advance the Russian to the third round.

No. 6 seed Safina, the runner-up at this year’s French Open, showed off powerful baseline shots and an equally powerful serve, racking up six aces.

Vinci brought a slightly better net game, edging Safina in that category. However, Safina stayed on her game, clenching her first with every point won. While Vinci actually committed fewer forced errors (14 to her opponent’s 18), her game was far more uneven. Down 0-3, with vocal support from her packed friends and family box, Vinci fought her way to get even and put the match at 4-4.

Then, up 5-4 and down 15-0 in the game, Safina smashed an overhead shot sending it ricocheting off the seats behind the court, as if telling the Italian that she would not be beaten, and quickly turning the score around to take the game and the set.

In the second set, Safina quickly went up 4-1 and shortly thereafter won two consecutive challenges, challenging calls on the right baseline. As the second call was overturned she turned to the chair umpire and shrugged. Within moments, Vinci challenged a call on the same baseline, which was also overturned on replay. Following that game, the judge changed his position.

With Safina serving for the match, Vinci hung in, taking the score to 15-40 before relinquishing the game and the match.