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Safina tries to take positives despite heartbreaking final loss in Olympics
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08:43, August 18, 2008

Russian sixth seed Dinara Safina lost a disappointing final in the women's tennis singles at the Olympic Games on Sunday, but she still keeps upbeat about her performance in the season so far.

The 22-year-old Russian came into the tournament with a career best 6th ranking and two titles in a row, but lost to compatriot Elena Dementieva in the final 2-1.

Coming into the final with a 5-2 lead over Dementieva in career and never beaten in all three previous meetings this season, the tough-minded Safina could not hold on her winning momentum after having played three grueling matches in 24 hours during the two previous days.

The tight calendar was partially due to the rain breaks which wrecked two days' schedule.

"You can see, I'm spending last week how many hours on the court. I'm not a machine, I'm human being. I'm disappointed that I lost," said a sullen Safina.

"I guess I got a little bit tight in most of the match. I had to maybe push a little bit more myself to be aggressive, but I was not the freshest today physically.

"Everything comes together also with the serve. I mean, to serve, you have to push yourself up, to jump up. And when the legs are a little bit slow, it just doesn't go."

But no doubt, Safina is still among the hottest players on tour. Ahead of the loss, Safina has compiled a 15-match winning streak which brought her two straight titles. In her past six tournaments, she has reached the final five times.

En route to the final, Safina edged past home-favored Li Na in the quarterfinals and world number one Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals.

"But from the other hand, if I see things around, what I've done, winning two tournaments in a row in North America, and then I came here, I didn't have even just one normal day off.

"I took straightaway flight from Montreal to Europe, from Europe to here. From all this scheduling, matches, doubles, singles, from what I've done, I think I just can be proud of myself.

"Of course it's sad that it's not the gold medal, but it doesn't matter given what I've done, not many girls can do it. I have to look forward for the next tournament.

"I think I can't be sad, because I did what I could do today. From other hand, even I am surprised what I've done."

Since February of this year, Safina has been working with a new coach, which she thinks has played an important role in winning the silver medal and in general thus far this season.

"Well, I think Zeljko (new coach) is one of the most important person in my life. What he did to me, like how he teach me to play and to control my emotions. I mean, I had many coaches, but they could not deal with this. He just changed me.

"I trust him fully. I think I trust him more than myself because he can tell me the things that I should do. I have to thank God that I met him ever in my life."


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1 China 35 13 13 61
2 USA 19 21 25 65
3 Great Britain 11 6 8 25
4 Germany 9 6 6 21
5 Australia 8 10 11 29
6 South Korea 8 9 5 22
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