Dinara Safina won a German Open plagued by so many big-name upsets it is almost impossible to pick a favorite to win at Roland Garros.
The 17th-ranked Russian beat countrywoman Elena Dementieva, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in Sunday’s final after wins against top-ranked Justine Henin and Serena Williams.
A French Open front-runner — if one emerges — will have to be produced this week in Rome — the last event before Roland Garros kicks off on May 25.
“It’s so unpredictable,” Dementieva said. “There is no one favorite, but a lot of players who can win.”
The German Open started with six of the world’s top seven — and 17 of 20 — before their ranks were devastated on a daily basis.
Dementieva took out two herself, world No. 5 Jelena Jankovic and fellow Serb No.2 Ana Ivanovic.
“It is the first tournament on clay and everybody is trying to find their rhythm,” Ivanovic said. “There is still time to get experience and match practice before Roland Garros.”
The 20-year-old Serb has two losing grand slam finals under her belt, including last year’s French Open, and feels she understands how to cope with the big match butterflies.
As to a favorite in Paris, Ivanovic points elsewhere.
“I think Justine still has a good chance, so do the Williams sisters,” Ivanovic said.
Safina said she will have to come down fast from the biggest week of her tennis career.
She flew to Rome yesterday to practice.
But perhaps her mother — who watched the final from the stands — may enjoy the win more, since her daughter collected 127,000 euros (US$197,000) for the title on Sunday, which was Mother’s Day in Germany.
“My mother can buy anything she wants,” Safina said. “She can walk into any store and I will pay for it.”
Safina is hesitant about her chances at Roland Garros.
“I don’t know if I can keep playing like this,” Safina said. “This week I played so good, starting with Justine [Henin], just so good.”
Safina said while her brother has an abundance of natural talent, she relies on hard work for her success.
“He is an unbelievable player,” Safina said. “He will practice for one and a half hours, then say why do you practice five? That’s why I will never understand my brother and he will never understand me.”