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Safina rises to No. 1 in women's tennis

Dinara Safina of Russia, shown during a match Feb. 17, 2009. (UPI Photo/Norbert Schiller)
Dinara Safina of Russia, shown during a match Feb. 17, 2009. (UPI Photo/Norbert Schiller) | License Photo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., April 20 (UPI) -- Russia's Dinara Safina officially became the No. 1-ranked women's tennis player in the world Monday, replacing Serena Williams of the United States.

Safina's brother, Marat Safin, was once the top-ranked men's player.

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The latest Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings dropped Williams to No. 2 after 11 straight weeks at the top. Williams, who has been bothered by a leg injury, lost in two recent tournnaments and withdrew from a third.

The 22-year-old Safina, winner of four WTA titles in the past year, is the second Russian to hold the No. 1 ranking. Maria Sharapova previously was top-ranked for 17 weeks.

Safina has nine WTA titles overall and has placed second in two majors, losing in this year's Australian Open final to Serena Williams and in last year's French Open title match to Ana Ivanovic of Serbia.

"It's a great honor to reach the No.1 ranking and it is a dream every girl who has ever wanted to play professional tennis shares," Safina said. "It is even extra special for me since my brother Marat was able to reach the No.1 ranking and I am happy to share this achievement with him."

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Russian Elena Dementieva is third in the rankings, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia is fourth and Venus Williams of United States is No. 5.

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