It's official. Until results dictate otherwise, I am officially referring to Dinara Safina as "Ana's Avenger". Her gutsy win over Jelena Jankovic last night ensured that Ana Ivanovic would continue her reign at #1 for at least another week. This win simply continues a long line of results over the past five months that seem to indicate that Ana Ivanovic's ascent to #1 has as much to do with her Avenger it does her monster forehand.
Let's break it down:
- Miami -- Avenges Ana's loss to Lindsay Davenport by beating Lindsay soundly in the next round.
- Berlin -- The Avenger beats then #1 Justine Henin in what would prove to be Justine's last match. She promptly retires, opening the door to #1.
- French Open -- The Avenger takes out both Maria Sharapova and Kuznetsova, two players who heading into the tournament had a shot at #1. She also takes out Elena Dementieva, who is inexplicably undefeated against Ana Ivanovic. Despite her awesome run, the Avenger bows out to her BFF in the final, thus allowing AI to avoid the ignominy of being a #1 without winning a slam.
- LA -- Jelena Jankovic has a cakewalk draw wherein all the top seeds who could have given her a strong challenge pulled out (Serena, Venus, Lindsay, Kuznetsova). Safina was the last line of defense for Ana, as surely Jankovic would have beaten Pennetta in the final, even if on one leg. In her post-match interview, the Avenger seems quite pleased with herself that she stopped JJ from getting the #1 spot.
So there it is, folks. AI needs to send this girl some flowers and a Starbucks card stat. Because nothing says thanks like a $5 Starbucks card.
In other news, Rafa vs. Kiefer in the Roger's Cup final. Can we just crown Rafa as the new #1 now?