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Safina still second fiddle in family fame game

SHE is within touching distance of becoming the world's top-ranked tennis player, but still Dinara Safina plays second fiddle in the family fame game.

The Russian will take over from Serena Williams as world number one should she reach the final in Indian Wells this week, but accepts big brother Marat has the edge in the fame stakes.

"For me, he's my big brother and today one person came up to me asking me if I'm the sister for Marat," she sighed after a win over China's Peng Shuai yesterday.

"I'm like, 'yeah'. (And they said) 'are you playing tennis?' And I look at them like, well, OK, yes, I'm also a tennis player. I'm still I think known more as his sister."

Asked whether she felt like celebrating when she has a press conference without former world number one Safin's name being mentioned, Safina said: "Yeah, but it never happens.

"There was no press conference where they would not ask about my brother. So you see, even today you ask, so I cannot celebrate."

Safina, who reached the Australian Open final in January, was well below her best against Peng, but denied that the pressure of bidding to become number one was weighing on her shoulders.

"If I deserve to be there, I'll get there," she said.

"Doesn't matter (if it is) this tournament or next tournament or during the year. There are many tournaments coming.

"But definitely if I play like this, I do not deserve to be there. If I want to be there, I have to level out my game."

Safina battled into the fourth round of the WTA event in Indian Wells, beating 28th-seed Peng 7-5 6-4.


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