Sep 22, 2008

Dinara Safina beats Svetlana Kuznetsova to win Pan Pacific Open, moves up to no. 3

Dinara Safina will move up to No. 3 in the world rankings after dominating Russian compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-3 Sunday to win the Pan Pacific Open.

The victory gave the fourth-seeded Safina her fourth WTA singles title this season, tying her with No. 1 Serena Williams for the most this year.

“I’ve played the best tennis this week I’ve ever played,” Safina said.

“It’s always nice to move up in the rankings and hopefully I can keep improving.”
Safina broke with a cross-court forehand from the baseline to go up 3-2 in the second set, and then broke for the third time in the final game, winning the match when the fifth-seeded Kuznetsova sent a forehand volley wide.

Safina has also won this year in Los Angeles, Montreal and Berlin.

She said pressuring Kuznetsova was the key on Sunday.

“I knew I had to keep the pressure on her from the start,” said Safina, who had seven aces.

“She is a good player and can put pressure on you so it was important for me to take my chances early.”
It was the 10th meeting between the two Russians, with Safina having won six of them.

Kuznetsova, a former U.S. Open champion, was bidding for her first title in 2008.
“It’s disappointing but I’ll try to be honest and positive,” Kuznetsova said.

“I came here after the clay court Fed Cup and really didn’t expect to get to the final so this isn’t a bad result for me.”
Kuznetsova said Safina can become the world’s top player.
“She has a chance to reach No. 1,” Kuznetsova said.

“She works hard and has a lot of energy. She has a bigger stroke than Jelena (Jankovic), and Serena (Williams) doesn’t play in that many tournaments these days.”
The doubles final, which followed after the singles final, pitted No.2-seeded duo Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur against unseeded team Petrova and Vania King.

And it was the underdog pairing of King and Petrova that prevailed, beating the two-time Grand Slam-winning team of Raymond and Stosur in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4.

King and Petrova won their first title as a team; it was King's fifth individual Tour doubles title and Petrova's 14th.

(Images by Yahoo! Sports, Sony Ericsson WTA website)

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