Dinara Safina came into the 2010 U.S. Open with high hopes. Despite injuries, she thought she'd be able to atone for last year, when she entered the tournament as the top seed but lost in the third round. According to this New York Times article, she clearly understood what she faced.
“How tough it is to climb, and how easy it is to go down,” Safina said, comparing it to riding a bike in the mountains.
There was no outward clue that Safina would tumble so suddenly to relative obscurity. She spent 26 weeks at No. 1 in 2009. She reached the finals at the Australian and French Opens, and the semifinals at Wimbledon.
Unfortunately for Safina, she didn't quite have enough firepower Monday against No. 24 Daniela Hantuchova, who prevailed 6-3, 6-4. Safina pushed Hantuchova at times, showing more guts than she's usually given credit for, but it didn't matter in the end. Five breaks and 24 winners were enough for Hantuchova, who dispatched Safina in a little more than an hour.
Back to the drawing board for Safina.