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January 25, 2009

Dinara Safina


D. SAFINA/A. Cornet
6-2, 2-6, 7-5


Q. Was it your experience that got you through in the end?
DINARA SAFINA: I guess. Or maybe she was just not ready to win this match, because she had it all in the hands.

Q. She served for the match at 5-4 and you broke her back.
DINARA SAFINA: She had 40-15 on her serve.

Q. What was going through your mind? What tactics were you thinking?
DINARA SAFINA: Tactics? Not really. Just what I'm doing on the court, you know, having the whole -- you know, it was all about me first set, playing solid. Nothing special, just my game. It's 5-Love for me. Okay, I had set point on her serve. She hit a lucky shot, 5-1. Losing so fast my serve, 5-2, and then I break her again, 6-2 for me. 1-Love, 15-40 on her serve.
From 1-Love to go down 5-1, it should have never happened to me, being No. 3 in the world. I played really like a junior today. I think it's just lucky that I went through.
But really it's sad that I can do these kind of mistakes.

Q. Can you pick yourself up for the next match?
DINARA SAFINA: I have to. There is no other way, you know. Because really it's sad what I did today.

Q. It's not the first time you've had matches where you let yourself go down. When you're facing the match points, what are you thinking? She gets nervous or that you have to play more aggressive?
DINARA SAFINA: I don't even remember what I did at 15-40. She missed.

Q. She had two unforced errors.
DINARA SAFINA: Two unforced errors. So, well, she never been in the quarters. I guess this was going through the mind. She never beat me. This also can go through her mind. I have a chance; I'm serving for the match; I have a match point.
I guess she was just not ready for beat me. I was just hanging in there. Nothing special that I did. I understand that sometimes it happens that I have a match point and I hit a winner, but it's her unforced errors.

Q. But the positive for you is that you're managing to fight through these matches, and maybe your level will come in the next three?
DINARA SAFINA: I mean, the game is there. It's just that I'm soft on myself. I mean, winning 6-2 and then having 1-Love, 15-40 on her serve, being dominant, and then like somebody switch me off and I started to just play.
Of course, because she was complaining about everything, I don't know what, her shoulder, this. I just started to look at her, what she's doing, instead of focusing myself and continuing being aggressive.
I just don't know. I'm so stupid looking at her instead of myself.

Q. If things fall right, you could leave here as the world No. 1. You don't sound like you think you're ready for that.
DINARA SAFINA: Well, you know, it's tough because still I'm sad about this match, you know. Of course, I have a chance to play quarters and I have a chance to play better. I'm just a little bit disappointing about this match, you know. Playing against this girl and allowing myself to do these kind of mistakes.

Q. In some way you must be pleased you were able to come back from two breaks down in the third set.
DINARA SAFINA: Of course, you know. But how many times I need to -- how many chances I need to have? I'm also lucky that I won first round. The girl, I didn't even have to stay in the court because she was playing with herself. Se was shooting ten balls in the fence, one in the court.
I was lucky to go through second round, because the girl, she could not win the match. Okay, third round at least I played something. Today again the girl has I think -- I just don't know how many more times I need to prove that either I play or I ready to go home.
The game is there. I just don't know what's going on through my mind.

Q. What did your coach say to you after the match?
DINARA SAFINA: The same. He said if I play like this, you gonna leave home. He said it makes no point for him to sit there and seeing myself playing completely different from what I'm practicing. Practicing playing aggressive, hitting the balls -- from 10 times 10 I hit exactly where I need to hit aggressive.
Come to the court and completely like just shadow is playing. Like, you know, Dinara is there, but just not me. So he's like, Okay, if you continue playing like this, I mean, it's better that I go home. I cannot tell you anything from sitting there. Because what I can tell you? You playing even more passive.
I mean, he's telling me at 5-4, Hit the ball. I telling myself, Hit the ball, and just arm doesn't go because my mind is just stupid.

Q. It's almost like you have similarities to Marat. There's two different Dinaras.
DINARA SAFINA: It looks like (smiling).
I don't know, if you guys see me practicing, I mean, there is not one ball that I push aggressive, moving aggressive. Come to the court and I'm running outside of Melbourne by the shadows, just missing the umpires. Next time I think I will run behind there. Like there is fence and there is still some space there. So maybe next time I'll run even there.

Q. Can you realize during the match you're doing that?
DINARA SAFINA: Today I was just like -- second set I was like, Come on, play the way you've been playing. I think just too much in my mind going through. I realize that I'm not playing any more like aggressive.
First set, she has no chance to handle. From no chance to handle she's making me run. So I guess I'm doing something wrong.
Just, I don't know. I'm lucky that I went through.

Q. What is your strategy for tomorrow?
DINARA SAFINA: Tomorrow I'm playing? No, I'm not playing tomorrow.

Q. Your next game.
DINARA SAFINA: At least to come back to Melbourne. This is the first. Because being outside of Melbourne I think I don't win so many points.
Second, just hit the ball at least 10, 15K faster, not pushing, you know. Just play the way I can play, nothing else. There is no secret. The problem is that I'm doubting because I'm not playing the game I used to play. I'm just -- I don't know. Either somebody just smacks me so hard in my head that something shakes finally and I put the cables together.

Q. Do you think maybe you're being too hard on yourself and that's the reason why you're not playing the game you want to play?
DINARA SAFINA: If I'm soft, I'm not doing it either. If I'm hard, also I'm not doing. I don't know. Maybe I need to find the middle. I don't know, really. Something is like -- I think it's better to be hard than soft and saying, Oh, yes, I won. I'm in the quarterfinal.
I think it's better to be hard and saying like, What are you doing? Just be happy that you won. I mean, Come on, just wake up. Maybe it happens like in Los Angeles when I pulled the match against Kudryavtseva with having match point. At least there I served ace.

Q. You feel like this match is much different than the one against Maria and Elena in Paris, because you felt like you were playing better there?
DINARA SAFINA: Different. Against Sharapova at least I hit the winner. Against Dementieva, after that, I was just pushing the ball. I mean, this I think is the same match as against Dementieva, exactly the same, because I was not doing anything, just bringing the ball back.
Okay, at 5-2 I played two games a little bit different. At least I was closer to the line Melbourne. At least I was running in the same sides.

Q. Did you think back for a moment, when you were 5-2 down, to those matches?
DINARA SAFINA: No, no, because I'm there. It's all about me. She's not serving me aces. I mean, somebody who serves hard, it's tough. You would say 5-2, double break, then I just have to be lucky she doesn't serve first serve.
She is not serving aces, so it's all about me. Every time is the rally. Just hit a little bit more to the side. Actually, I did this at 5-2. She was just, again, picking up the balls. Okay, at 5-4, I don't know, I was picking up the balls.

Q. It seems like none of the top players are very confident in this tournament. Maybe Serena a little bit. Jankovic lost.
DINARA SAFINA: Dementieva.

Q. And Dementieva.
DINARA SAFINA: I think it's the first Grand Slam. Okay, for me it's the first time I'm actually in the quarters. I never did a great results here, so I'm pleased.
Maybe just, I don't know, this is the way I'm playing in Australia. I don't know. But from the other hand, I think it's just the first Grand Slam, because, you know, like nobody's playing great. You have a chance. You are there, but you are not mentally.
Still like need to do something, I don't know. I think just still need some more tournaments to find ourselves.

End of FastScripts

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