Safina vs. Kuznetsova should be great battle

BY foxsports • June 5, 2009

A pair of Russians who share much in common will compete for the women's singles title at Roland Garros. Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova both come from sports-oriented families. Each player sharpened her clay-court skills as a teenager training in Spain. Both rely on power as the foundation of their approach between the lines. However, Kuznetsova has one item on her résumé that Dafina desperately wants to add: a Grand Slam championship.




Safina has already made history by becoming the top-ranked player in the world this year. She and her brother Marat are the first siblings to both achieve that feat. Now Dinara can bring another major championship to a family that has excelled in tennis. Her parents run the famed Spartak Tennis Club in Moscow that was instrumental in shaping the careers of WTA stars such as Elena Dementieva and Anastasia Myskina. Safina's most valuable lessons may have been learned as a teenager training in Valencia, Spain. The Russian gained an understanding of the subtleties of playing on clay that have helped her reach her second consecutive French Open singles final.

Kuznetsova's family earned their sports reputation on a bicycle. Her father has coached several Olympic cycling champions, while her mother and brother have both won titles on cycling tracks. Svetlana may have gained a perspective on endurance from her parents. Few players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour can match Kuznetsova's stamina. Kuznetsova dabbled in her family's sport but wound up having more interest in tennis. Like Safina, Svetlana's passion took her to Spain. Kuznetsova trained in Barcelona before turning pro in 2000.


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