Saturday, September 27, 2008

Different Paths

Who would've have thought, just four short months ago in the French Open final that Dinara Safina and Ana Ivanovic would be in the places they are today? In this week's WTA Tour rankings, Safina sits sweetly at number three in the world, while Ivanovic, so briefly the world's number one, is now at number four.

It's the story of two completely different paths.

Since Ivanovic's maiden slam win over Safina at Roland Garros, the Serb has looked more like the crashing U.S. economy while Russian has likened, well, the petro-fueled Russian economy. Ivanovic is a dismal 5-5, losing in the third round of Wimbledon and the second round of the US Open. The nerves that Ivanovic showed in her first set of a slam final in 2007 against Justine Heninhave resurfaced again, but this time they've lasted for over three months - not just three sets.

A few days ago,'s Peter Bodo gave credit where credit is due in writing about the ascension of Safina's star. Safina has, at the age of 22, suddenly placed herself in the upper echelon of the game after dabbling with the mid-majors for several years. Now it's up to Dinara if she can prove herself to be more steady than big brother Marat.

Head to head, Ivanovic still leads Safina in their overall career record. But as the season comes to a close, players around the globe are seeing the Russian as more of a threat for the Season Ending Championships than Ivanovic, and as the Australian Open looms a few months away - could one of them be listed with the favorites and the other not?

The fact is, if Safina were to - dare I say it? - win the SEC, perhaps she would cement her place as a viral threat for the next several years on the women's tour. But it only takes a look at one player to realize that no ranking or talent is safe for very long on the WTA Tour these days. Can you guess who that player is? I think her name might be Ana Ivanovic.

No comments: