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Dinara Safina lifts Italian Open

May 10, 2009 18:59 IST
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World number one Dinara Safina gained swift revenge over Svetlana Kuznetsova on Saturday, thrashing her fellow Russian 6-3, 6-2 to win the Italian Open in their second consecutive final meeting.

Safina clinched a scrappy first set and ran away with the second to secure her 10th singles title, the first of 2009 after losing her third final of the year against Kuznetsova at the Stuttgart Grand Prix last Sunday.

She is optimistic the victory will help her break her grand slam duck at the French Open which starts later this month.

"I'm feeling great," Safina told reporters when asked about her hopes for the French Open which is also played on clay like the Rome and Stuttgart tournaments.

"It gives lots of confidence especially as the claycourt season started with one final and one title. Cannot be better."

The two 23-year-olds, former finalists here, struggled for rhythm at the start.

After an early trade of breaks Safina went 4-1 up but then helped former U.S. Open champion Kuznetsova come back to 4-3 with a series of poor shots.

She broke serve again immediately and held her own with ease for the first time in the match to take the set, wrapping it up with a smash.

Safina, who became number one for the first time last month, then broke twice to stroll home in the second although Kuznetsova saved two match points before bowing out.

Kuznetsova was disappointed she made lots of mistakes after showing good form on the way to the final.

"It was a bit like Christmas today. I was giving away too many presents," said Kuznetsova who tossed her racket down in frustration at blasting a backhand into the net in the second set.

"Last week (against Safina) I was dictating the game. I was serving (well) and I was not making so many unforced errors. I was more patient than today.

"This is (the sort of) match that takes me back, not forward to maybe number one or winning more titles. If I can find the key to winning these matches it would be a very different story," added Kuznetsova.

Nevertheless, the world number eight was pleased with her overall form.

"I felt great. I felt above everybody (else this week). Today just didn't go my way," she said. "It's not a drama. I still won a tournament and made a final.

"We have been the two best players in these two weeks so I'm just looking forward to improving. I'm just going to work through it and play better in the next few weeks."

It was Safina's most straightforward win of the week, her previous three matches all going to three sets including an epic semi-final victory over Venus Williams on Friday.

"I had to run and fight against all the other players. Today I'm really happy I could win in two sets," she said.

"She had some chances. She really missed a lot. In some moments I would say, thank you very much."

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