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Safina sinks to new low

Dinara Safina must have thought things could only get better after her humiliating 59-minute defeat to Serena Williams in last month’s Australian Open final. Yesterday, however, the Russian gave a performance she regarded as worse than her Melbourne mismatch and was beaten 6-4, 6-2 by France’s Virginie Razzano in the second round of the Barclays Dubai Championships.

Safina, the world No 2, looked out of sorts, shanking her ground strokes and hitting 12 double faults. Razzano, the world No 58, took her chances but for the most part just had to wait for Safina to make mistakes. Safina said: “Today was one of my worst days. I’ve been practising great and was feeling good but sometimes it takes time to transfer your form into a match.”

Serena Williams lost the first set to Italy’s Sara Errani but recovered to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-0. Her sister, Venus, beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0, 6-1. Jelena Jankovic defeated Romania’s Monica Niculescu 6-3, 6-2.

* Jamie Murray has been left out of Britain’s Davis Cup team for next month’s tie against Ukraine in Glasgow. His place has gone to Ross Hutchins, who will join Andy Murray and two players to be decided by a six-man play-off at Roehampton next week. Jamie Murray has been in poor form, while Hutchins has climbed to No 36 in the world doubles rankings – still six places lower than Murray.