Safina looking for brotherly love

PARIS (AFP) - Like any adoring young sister French Open finalist Dinara Safina would love to please big brother Marat when she takes on Ana Ivanovic on Saturday - if only he would show up. The 22-year-old from the famous tennis family from Moscow will play in her first Grand Slam final when she takes on the Serb second seed and as the underdog she could to with all the support she can get. However, Marat, six years her senior, is long gone from Roland Garros, having lost in the second round last week to compatriot Nikolay Davydenko He is though just a short Eurostar train journey away in London, but Dinara does not know whether or not he will be on hand to witness the biggest match of her career to date. "I don't know. Maybe he will come. He didn't tell me anything," she said. "I guess maybe he will make a surprise and come because I really like it when he comes to see me. "But I think as when I see him play I get so nervous, so he will also be nervous he will not even be able to watch me play." Safina has grown up in the shadow of her brother's successes and popularity around the world although she missed his breakthrough win in the US Open final in 2000 when he beat Pete Sampras in straight sets as she was only 14 at the time, and because of the time difference, had been packed off to bed. "But when I saw this match on the video it was just amazing. Like the way he played it was too good." Yet she has already achieved something her brother never managed at Roland Garros by reaching the final. Safin never made it past the semis. A win over Ivanovic on Saturday would leave her halfway to matching his total of Grand Slam title wins. Meanwhile, Ana Ivanovic tackles Dinara Safina in the French Open final on Saturday with the golden girl of Roland Garros determined to end the magical run of the tournament's comeback queen. Second seed Ivanovic, the 2007 runner-up, defeated fellow Serbian Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in Thursday's semi-final while 13th seeded Safina reached her first Grand Slam final with a shock 6-3, 6-2 victory over fourth seeded compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova. Ivanovic, who will become the new world number one on Saturday, win or lose, will start as favourite in her third Grand Slam final against a player she has defeated twice in three meetings. But Safina, so long in the shadow of big brother Marat Safin, has enjoyed a fairytale run, twice coming back from a set and 2-5 deficits, and twice saving a match point, in her fairytale run through the tournament. For Jankovic it was the fourth time she had played in a Grand Slam semi-final and the fourth time she had failed to make it through. "It was a tough match and I managed to stay strong at the end to win it," said Ivanovic who also reached the Australian Open final in January but lost to Maria Sharapova. "She started to play really good tennis and I was too passive and if you give her a chance of course she is going to use it." Safina, 22, is now just one victory away from joining big brother Marat, who won the 2000 US Open and 2005 Australian Open, as a Grand Slam winner. Few would begrudge his little sister from triumphing after staging two carbon copy comebacks in the previous rounds to see off top seed Sharapova and Elena Dementieva."God has kept me in the tournament. I knew I couldn't be passive because I knew I'd not get a third chance," said Safina. "I told myself that if I had to die on the court, then I will die on the court. I had to give it all. After going through so many emotions in this tournament I knew what I had to do. "I knew that nothing else could happen to me having been down and almost out." Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open winner and runner-up here in 2006, admitted she had played one of her worst matches in the French capital. "It was really horrible, I felt bad," said the fourth seed who could have become the new world number one had she gone on to win the title. "Dinara's been playing really well. She pushed me all over the court but I couldn't fight her as I was fighting myself. "I think she has a good chance of winning on Saturday." 

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