Monday, May 4, 2009

Kuznetsova Eases By Safina To Take Title

STUTTGART, Germany -- Svetlana Kuznetsova upset top-ranked Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday to win the Porsche Grand Prix and capture her first WTA title since September 2007.

It was Safina's first tournament since becoming No. 1 two weeks ago.

Kuznetsova, the 2004 U.S. Open champion now ranked No. 9, was in command in the all-Russian showdown with an aggressive, big-hitting game, winning on her third match point with an overhead smash.

She had lost her last six finals and had not made any this year before Stuttgart.

"It's been a while. It's great to be here and win," Kuznetsova said before taking a spin on the court in a white Porsche convertible that she won as first prize. "It was a bit scary but I will definitely keep it. It's special."

Kuznetsova won at Stuttgart in her fifth try.

Safina, the Australian Open runner-up, dropped her serve in the final game of the first set. Kuznetsova set it up with a perfect return down the line and Safina then put a backhand into the net.
She had two chances to break Kuznetsova's serve in the third game of the second, but Kuznetsova held. Kuznetsova never looked back after taking a 4-2 lead.

Safina saved one match point at 5-3 and one more in the next game, but Kuznetsova had too much fire power.

"She played very well and I didn't feel very well today," Safina said. "But I am still No. 1."

The Stuttgart tournament used to be played on a hard surface, but has become the first indoor event on clay on the circuit.

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