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Safina puts injury woes behind her

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Originally published on: 15/03/11 10:48

A month ago Dinara Safina considered quitting tennis for good, but the 24-year-old put those thoughts firmly behind her after beating Samantha Stosur to reach the fourth round in Indian Wells.

The former world No.1 added to her second round triumph over the in-form Daniela Hantuchova by seeing off the fourth-seeded Australian by the same 7-6(2) 6-4 score line at the BNP Paribas Open.

“Definitely it’s a nice feeling to get it back,” said the Russian after winning three matches on the bounce for the first time since the 2010 Australian Open.

“It’s been a while since I had these feelings, after winning a match and you really can smile and enjoy the win. Many things have happened, so I really want just to enjoy the moment.”

Safina plummeted to 108th in the world after struggling with a back injury for much of 2010, and after losing 6-0 6-0 to Kim Clijsters in the opening round in Melbourne this year, she contemplated quitting.

“After Australia it was tough,” she remembered. “I said to my mom: ‘I’m retiring’. I said: ‘I don’t want any more of this’. For me it was tough because I knew that I’m going to start from the next week with a new coach.

“It was a moment that was going in my mind, like: ‘Will I be back?’ But there is a saying that you never give up.”

When asked how long she had been pain-free from the back injury that blighted her last season, Safina said: “I guess from the beginning of this year. After the vacations I took last year and then I had the practice, basically this year I can say like pain-free.

“It still can get the muscle tight, but it’s nothing to compare like how it can be like.”

Safina faces Maria Sharapova in the fourth round on Tuesday as she targets a spot in her first quarter-final since Seoul last September.

“She’s a great player,” Safina said of the three-time Grand Slam champion. “She’s a great competitor. Tomorrow I’m gonna go out there, do my best and I’ll fight like I do.”

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