Safina grabs first season title in Italy
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World number one Dinara Safina claimed the Italian Open title with a 6-3 6-2 win over her Russian compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova. It was her first title of the season in her fourth final.
AFP - World number one Dinara Safina defeated Russian compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday to claim the WTA Rome claycourt International title here.
Safina never looked in trouble as she stormed to victory in an hour and a half as her seventh-seeded opponent paid for a string of unforced errors.
The top seed also gained revenge for her 6-4, 6-3 defeat to Kuznetsova in the final of last week's Stuttgart Open.
It was her first title of the season in her fourth final having also been beaten in the Australian Open and Sydney finals earlier in the year.
Safina, 23, also won her first title as the world number one, a honour she only achieved on April 20.
But while she will be delighted with her victory, the truth was that Kuznetsova handed it too her with 30 unforced errors to just 16 by Safina.
The world number eight also took only two of 11 break point opportunities while Safina converted five of her nine chances.
And Kuznetsova's erratic play meant this result rarely looked in doubt despite a series of breaks in the opening set before Safina sealed it with a smash.
In the second the world number one simply ran away with it until the last couple of games when Kuznetsova started to fight back.
Safina had a match point on the Kuznetsova serve at 5-1 but the seventh seed showed good speed to reach a Safina drop shot and loop a backhand beyond her opponent to claim the point.
She held serve and then took a 40-15 lead on the Safina serve but the world number one saved the first with a blistering backhand winner and the second with a service winner.
A return error from Kuznetsova gave Safina a second match point which she wasted with a netted forehand at the end of a long rally.
However, two more return errors from Kuznetsova proved enough for Safina to lift this title for the first time.
She had reached the final in 2006, losing to Martina Hingis, while Kuznetsova was also runner-up here a year later when Jelena Jankovic won.
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