Safina crushes Kuznetsova

2008-09-21 11:18

Tokyo - Fourth seed Dinara Safina overpowered fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1 6-3 to win the Pan Pacific Open title on Sunday.

After posting her fourth tournament victory of 2008, this year's French Open runner-up and US Open semi-finalist is poised to rise to a career-high third in the world when Monday's rankings are published.

The triumph was also Safina's third Tier One title of the year following wins in Berlin and Montreal.

The 22-year-old came out with all guns blazing, breaking for a 3-1 lead with a lunging backhand volley before closing out the first set with a blistering ace.

Fifth seed Kuznetsova was unable to match her opponent's power as the contest progressed and Safina moved in for the kill when she whipped a forehand past the former US Open champion to gain the decisive break in the fifth game of the second set.

Kuznetsova, who helped Russia retain their Fed Cup title in Spain last weekend, did not give up without one last throw of the dice but was left yelling out in frustration after missing a forehand that would have hauled her back to 4-4.

Safina wasted little time sealing the emphatic victory in the next game when a Kuznetsova drop shot floated wide.

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