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Safina wins Pan Pacific Open

Dinara Safina (R) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (L) hold trophies during the awards ceremony for the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in Tokyo. (AFP)
Tokyo, Sept 21 (Agencies):
Published on 22 Sep. 2008 12:57 AM IST
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Olympic silver medallist Dinara Safina powered past Svetlana Kuznetsova in an all-Russian final today to win the Pan Pacific Open, her fourth title of the year. Safina, the 22-year-old French Open finalist and world No.5, notched an easy 6-1 6-3 victory over Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open champion and world No.7, to take the title in her first appearance in Tokyo. “I’m just feeling great. I’ve been playing here the whole week my best tennis I’ve ever played,” she said. “It’s nice, because it’s the first time I’m here in Tokyo. I could show my best tennis. I’m really happy this week.“We know each other very well. Actually we are very good friends off court. I focused on myself and I think I did everything right today. “I don’t want to say she will have revenge, but hope that we will have some good matches.”With the win, Safina - who also won titles this year in Berlin, Los Angeles and Montreal - will move up in the WTA rankings to a career-high No.3. “Actually it’s very nice when you can go up in the rankings,” she said. “I just hope that I’m going to continue to be healthy and give 100 per cent day by day.”Safina defeated Kuznetsova thanks to her powerful returns on second serve, winning five of eight break chances. Safina had her first break opportunity at 15-40 in the fourth game of the first set and duly opened a 3-1 lead. She carried the momentum through, winning the next three straight games and the set. Kuznetsova, who hit a double fault on a break point to lose the first game of the second set, got back to 2-all when Safina returned the favour, double faulting on break point in the fourth game. But Safina piled on the pressure, firing a sizzling forehand passing shot to break back in the following game and pulling off another break in the ninth to finish off the 78-minute match. It was Safina’s ninth career victory overall and she took home the $US196,900 ($A245,052) winner’s cheque. Safina improved her lifetime record against Kuznetsova to six wins and four defeats. She has not lost to Kuznetsova this season, also overcoming her in the semi-finals at the French Open. For Kuznetsova, who has yet to win a title this season, it was her fourth loss in a final this season, after Sydney, Dubai and Indian Wells.

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