LONDON - Dinara Safina insisted nobody could now question her world No 1 status as she made it into the Wimbledon semifinals.
The Russian, who has never won a Grand Slam title, has now reached at least the semifinals in all of the last four majors and is adamant that fact alone proves she has consistently been a top player over the past 12 months.
And she insisted she had the "weapons" to shoot down defending champion Venus Williams in the semifinals. The top seed reached the Wimbledon last four for the first time yesterday with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-1 win over unseeded German teenager Sabine Lisicki.
"I guess now people cannot say why I'm the No 1 without a Grand Slam title," the 23-year-old said.
Lisicki backed up Safina's assessment: "She's the No 1 in the world. She has been in Grand Slam finals, so she has earned the top spot in the rankings. She has worked very hard for it. I respect her a lot."
Safina said she was not daunted by facing five-time Wimbledon champion Williams next.
"Definitely this is her best surface. She loves playing here in Wimbledon," the Muscovite said.
"I have nothing to lose. I played her in Rome and I beat her in Rome. So I know what she's doing. I know her weapons. I have my weapons. Don't misunderstand that I have nothing to lose because I am playing her. I cannot go on court thinking I lost already. No, definitely I think I have a chance there."
Despite losing the first set by double-faulting on a tie-break, Safina recovered to beat world number 41 Lisicki, 19, in two hours 28 minutes on Centre Court.
Williams closed in on a sixth Wimbledon title with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Polonda's Agnieszka earlier yesterday.
Meanwhile, sister Serena Williams defeated Belarussian Victoria Azarenka 6-2 6-3 in another quarterfinal yesterday. - Sapa-AFP