GOLD COAST, Australia - Dinara Safina of Russia took advantage of Martina
Hingis' double fault in the last game to beat the Swiss star 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 on
Saturday in the Australian Women's Hardcourt final.
The top-seeded Hingis, who used this event last year as her comeback event
and lost in the semifinals, double-faulted at 0-30 in the 12th game to set up
match point. The 20-year-old Safina, the sister of ATP Tour veteran Marat Safin,
won on the next point.
"Everyone's going to have to watch her because she's going to be even better
than her brother," Hingis said at the trophy presentations.
The second-seeded Safina lost the first set of her semifinal against Shahar
Peer of Israel on Friday and trailed 5-1 in the second before staging a comeback
that saw her win the second set tiebreaker 7-1 and the final set 6-1.
On Saturday, Safina, who saved 10 of 14 break points, let Hingis get back
into the match in the third set. Serving to go up 4-1, Safina had her service
broken after trailing 0-40. But the Russian came right back to break Hingis'
serve in the next game, giving Safina a 4-2 lead.
Four games later, and with both players having trouble with their serves, the
set was tied 5-5. Safina held her serve through four deuces in the 11th game to
take a 6-5 lead before breaking Hingis in the next to take the title.
It's the first time Safina has defeated Hingis in three attempts, including
the Italian Open final in Rome last May.
"I hope it's not our last final ... and good luck in the Australian Open,"
Safina said to Hingis before holding the trophy above her head.
Hingis came back to the WTA Tour last season after a three-year absence due
to foot and ankle injuries. She finished the year ranked