August 11, 2009 / 10:35 PM / 10 years ago

Safina loses battle with a coconut, still beats Vinci

CINCINNATI, Ohio (Reuters) - While most players wear strapping to support a sports injury, world number one Dinara Safina came up with a novel reason for sporting plasters on her left hand on Tuesday - she lost a fight with a coconut.

The Russian revealed that she had come off second in an encounter with the tropical fruit before last week’s event in Los Angeles and almost had to pull out.

“I would say I lost a bet with a coconut,” the Russian said, to much laughter at the Cincinnati Open on Tuesday, where she battled past Italian Roberta Vinci 2-6 7-5 6-4 in the second round.

“I was trying to open a coconut and actually didn’t open it very good because the knife slipped and it went straight into my hand.

“It was pretty deep. I was lucky that I was able to play in Los Angeles because until the day before the tournament I didn’t hit any backhands. There was no chance I could hit any backhand.”

The injury perhaps explains why Safina lost in the third round in Los Angeles and she almost lost in Cincinnati on Tuesday as Vinci served for the match in the second set only to lose her nerve.

“It’s better, but I was lucky I didn’t touch any ligament,” she said. “It was very deep. They didn’t put the stitches in because the doctor was not on site. Now it’s OK.”

The offending coconut went “straight into the garbage,” Safina said, adding that her coach had not been too impressed when she told him what happened.

Editing by Justin Palmer

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