MASON – The No. 1 singles player and doubles team on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour will be playing in the finals of the 2009 Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open on Sunday.
Dinara Safina, who is in her 17th week ranked at No. 1 in the World, needed just 56 minutes to defeat Flavia Pennetta 6-2 6-0 in Saturday first singles semifinal.
“Today, stepping on the court, I was feeling very good and confident, like I was feeling very good stepping in,” Safina said.
This is the eighth final of 2009 for Safina, who has won three titles this season. She’s the first No. 1 ranked woman to reach the women’s final here in Cincinnati.
In the history of the Cincinnati men’s tournament, since the ATP rankings began in 1973, the No. 1 player in the world has reached the final 10 times, claiming the title seven times.
Safina’s win assures the first-ever Cincinnati final featuring two Top 5 players, as her opponent will be either No. 4 Elena Dementieva or No. 5 Jelena Jankovic. There have been eight men’s finals featuring two Top 5 players, the last being 2005 when No. 1 Roger Federer defeated No. 3 Andy Roddick.
The last three winners of the Cincinnati women’s have been Russian – Nadia Petrova in 2008, Anna Chakvetadze in 2007 and Vera Zvonareva in 2006. Safina has the chance to extend that streak, and if Dementieva wins, the streak is assured to continue.
The loss on Saturday brought Pennetta’s 15-match winning streak to an end. While it was disappointing, the Italian who is the newest member of the WTA Top 10, took it in stride.
“Today she was playing much better than me,” Pennetta said. “I was a little bit tired, of course, but I didn't lose for that. In front was like No. 1 in the world, and she was playing unbelievable.”
In doubles, the No. 1 team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber defeated Akgul Amanamuradova and Monica Niculescu 6-4 6-1.
This will be the fifth final of 2009 for Black & Huber. They are 4-0 in their previous finals appearances.