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Safina starts off as world No. 1

DINARA Safina officially took over the top ranking on the WTA Tour yesterday, making her and older sibling Marat Safin the only brother-sister duo to have been No. 1 in professional tennis.

Safina, who has yet to win a grand slam tournament title but twice reached a major final, is the 19th woman to top the rankings since they were introduced in 1975. She is also only the second Russian woman after Maria Sharapova to reach No. 1.

Safina replaced Serena Williams at the top, even though the American beat her in the Australian Open final this year. Last year, Safina lost to Ana Ivanovic in the French Open final.

Marat Safin was ranked No. 1 on the men's tour in 2000, the same year he won the first of two grand slam singles titles.

"He has two grand slams," Safina said of Marat in a video posted on the WTA's website. "He's still much better than me, so I have to catch him."

Safina won four titles last year.

Lisicki wins

Elsewhere, German Sabine Lisicki clinched her first WTA title by upsetting fifth-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4 in the Family Circle Cup final in Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday.

In a match between two teenagers, 16th-seeded Lisicki overwhelmed her opponent with a ruthless display of booming serves and powerful groundstrokes to seal victory in one hour 20 minutes.

The 19-year-old German broke Wozniacki, who had upset top-seeded Russian Elena Dementieva in the semifinals, in the first and fifth games to sweep through the first set in less than half an hour.

Lisicki, who eliminated second seed Venus Williams, again broke Wozniacki in the fifth game of the second set before surviving a few anxious moments on serve in the 10th to seal victory on her sixth match point. After hitting a forehand winner, the pony-tailed German jumped into the air in celebration before falling backwards on to the claycourt surface.

"I enjoyed the whole week and beating Venus really gave me some confidence," a beaming Lisicki said.

"I just stepped up my game and I won today. It's unbelievable.

"I felt really confident the whole week. I have practised well the last few months but I couldn't transfer it into the matches. Then it just clicked and everything was working in the matches as well."

World No. 63 Lisicki, who broke into the top 50 for the first time yesterday, said she had felt jittery when serving for the match.

"I was a little bit nervous when I had my first match points but I think it is normal," the German said after firing down nine aces and hitting 33 winners.


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