| SAN DIEGO, California
SAN DIEGO, California Aug 2 Former world
number one Dinara Safina ended a six match losing streak by
beating Alona Bondarenko 6-1 7-6 in the first round of the San
Diego Open on Monday.
Safina was joined in the second round by another Russian,
Alisa Kleybanova, who overcame Aravane Rezai of France 6-2 5-7
6-3 to earn herself a match up against top seed Jelena
Safina, who has slumped to number 35 in the rankings after
struggling with a back injury this year, proved too strong for
her Ukrainian opponent
The Russian will play either fourth-seed Agnieszka
Radwanska or Chanelle Scheepers in the next round.
Safina came out on top in a number of crosscourt backhand
rallies and kept her composure as Bondarenko frequently lost
her temper, smacking her racket on the court time and time
Bondarenko was able to push the Russian into a second set
tiebreaker but Safina wrestled control quickly, ripping three
crisp winners to win it 7-2 when Bondarenko produced a forehand
"I needed the win," "Safina said. "Last week I lost a
tiebreaker and in practice I lost one because I was playing
defensive. Tonight I said I'm not going to play defensive and
be aggressive and whatever happens, happens."
Twelve months ago Safina held the number one position but
her back injury and an alarming loss of confidence has
contributed to her fall in the rankings .
The 24-year-old was forced to pull out of Wimbledon when
she re-aggravated her back injury which left her unable to walk
for a week.
"I think my back is fine now," said Safina. "Every morning
when I wake up and it feels good I say thanks."
Elsewhere, the 21-year-old Kleybanova produced an attacking
third set to overcome her French opponent Rezai.
"In the second set I slowed down and went too far behind
the court and gave her the opportunity to make more winners,"
"I told myself in the third set that even if I'm missing to
take her rhythm away and stay on top of the court. I was able
to turn it around."
(Editing by Patrick Johnston; To query or comment on this
story email firstname.lastname@example.org)