Dinara Safina suffers biggest upset in history, Venus Williams also falls at China Open


Top seed Dinara Safina and third seed Venus Williams lost in the second round of the China Open, with the Russian making history, in a bad way though.

The world No.1 Safina, who is currently spending her 25th week on top of the rankings, lost to No.226-ranked Zhang Shuai 7-5 7-6(5), which is the biggest on-paper upset in Sony Ericsson WTA Tour history. Ouch!

Zhang is now the lowest-ranked player ever to beat a reigning No.1, bettering the No.188 ranking held by Julie Coin as she upset Ana Ivanovic at the 2008 US Open.

The 20-year-old Zhang has won 12 ITF titles, but has never before this week’s China Open won a main draw match on Tour.

“It’s very disappointing, I’d like to take a break now. I’m very upset with myself,” said Safina, who had an early break in both sets and a set point in the second set.

Last week Safina also lost in the second round of a tournament, falling to 132nd-ranked Chang Kai-Chen at the Toray Pan Pacific Open.

In addition, Safina will lose the No.1 ranking to Serena Williams, if Serena wins her match against Ekaterina Makarova on Tuesday.

The other upset of the day happened when world No.39 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova scored her second straight win over Venus Williams. The 18-year-old Pavlyuchenkova defeated the seven-time Grand Slam champion last week at the Toray Pan Pacific Open, and today at the China Open the Russian took out the world No.3 American with a score 3-6 6-1 6-4, in the second round as well.


  1. If she doesn’t take the No.1 ranking this time, I’ll kill myself. Now I want Serena to be No.1 and at least temporaraily end the discussion.

  2. Oh dear, I wasn’t expecting this. Who else thinks that Dinara should withdraw from Doha, go on a much needed vacation, hire a new coach AND a sports psychologist ASAP and put 2009 behind her? I know Doha is alot of money, so I’m not sure if she’ll turn that down, but seriously. If she wants to win a slam she needs to shake those mental demons out of her mind and get mean on the court. It would do her some good and really allow her to mature not just as a player, but as a person.

    Or, she could just be Marat Jr. and be stubborn and not shake herself into mental shape, I mean, it’s not like her mentality has prevented her from being victorious at slams or anything during her reign at number 1 this tennis season. (sarcasm).

    And girl, don’t kill yourself over this! I love this blog, it’s civil and unbiased. Nice combo =D.

  3. http://video.sina.com.cn/sports/t/v/2009-10-06/165133027.shtml

    MARIA WON!!! CAME BACK FROM 2-5 IN THE FINAL SET. The crowd is so in love with her, the loudest crowd I’ve seen that cheered for Maria, not event he Russian, French or American crowd cheers for her this loud. Asians love Maria and I know it. 😀

    Maria, seeing you celebrate in the end reminds me of how much I love you. She’s jumping in the very end, the crowd gave her a standing ovation. Love her, love the crowd, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the forehand passing shot at one point, you HAVE to see it, it was awesome. The video is from 2-5 to the end of the match.

    I know she’s tired, don’t care if she loses early in Beijing. I’m just so happy to see her smile. 🙂

    All credits to Victoria for playing so well, and no freaking out at all. What a great match it was, one of the best matches I’ve seen in 2009!

  4. I didn’t watch a match (was at faculty) so thanx for the link Teerin:-) I’m really glad Maria won it. JJ just lost so guess it’ll be easier 3rd round for Maria…

  5. Anyone want some NudeReRe?


    ESPN Body Issue, I heard, will be coming out every year. Athletes will pose naked for these Body Issue every year. This year, the only tennis players are Serena Williams as you can see up there, and reportedly James Blake. I can’t remember the full list of athletes, but there’s Dwight Howard and Shawn Johnson too. Isn’t Shawn Johnson 17? Is she allowed to pose?

    Agnieszka must be crying now that she didn’t get contacted to post nude. She wanted to do it so bad. Caroline probably got offered but turned it down and told them to contact Kournikova instead (oh wait… she did).

  6. Ella, I don’t think she should withdraw from Doha, but she should take her time in the off-season to go to therapy together with Ivanovic. You put my thoughts into words, it’s definitely her innate personality, while with Ana the problem is more related to her temporary situation. Haha, don’t worry guys, I’ll stay alive. 🙂

    Teerin, and I LOVE it that you described the whole Maria vs. Victoria match in a post about Dinara and Venus. Haha. You’re excitement is precious.

    And it’s actually great you shared the info from the match as I didn’t have time to cover it, as well as JJ’s loss.

    Serena has already posed nude once. For Jane magazine.


  7. Poor Dinara, she couldn’t shake off all the pressure and disappointment from the last US Open. Psychological war fuelled by Serena has finally taken its toll. It is a shame, but on the other hand I think it is going to help her as now there will not be so much pressure on her. What is funny is that when Dinara got to No.1 Serena was full of claims how she doesnt care about the rankings anymore and suddenly when she climbs up the system is not “faulty” anymore and she is celebrating. What a change…

  8. Marine, I think alike. I new she would be happy. It’s so normal to want to be No.1 even with the faulty system.

  9. Yeah, I also think the system is faulty although for slightly different reason. If you look at Serena’s record for this year you see slam victories and… the rest the cemetery of losses beginning as early as the first round.And we cannot forget a loss against Kim who returned to tennis after two years!For me her ranking is just a number as Dinara was able to keep her position thanks to her consistency (despite GS losses) without winning a slam for a long while. I think the tour still doesn’t have a true leader.

  10. I’m one of those rare people who don’t actually criticize the system, I called it faulty because Serena believes so. About the true leader, well, there is no one, as you said.

  11. I see what you mean now. I don’t think system is too bad. Even though Grand Slams are very important, it cannot be based purely on them. If that happened it would soon send WTA out of business. To make profit the system has to ensure some consistency regarding the results in the field and make players get on with it not just when it comes to slams.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here