Kuznetsova wins second Slam as Safina loses again (Roundup)

June 7th, 2009 - 1:16 am ICT by IANS  

Paris, June 6 (DPA) Svetlana Kuznetsova said the wait was worth it as she claimed her second Grand Slam title in five years with a 6-4, 6-2 win over fellow-Russian Dinara Safina in the French Open women’s singles Saturday.
The success on an overcast afternoon followed Kuznetsova’s 2004 US Open victory, and losses to Justine Henin in 2006 and 2007 with match points wasted in Paris and New York.

“It’s like this because God wants to be like this,” said the new champion. “I still did work hard every year and tried to do my best here. It’s very important tournament for me, because it’s full of emotions.

“I’m still in a shadow, I don’t understand what happened, really,” said the stunned winner, who leaves World number one Safina winless in three finals at majors, including the Australian Open five months ago.

“I came on the court and just played the match. It was just one more match. I did my best.

“Definitely, there was a lot of emotion. The most important thing happened, and finally I won here.”

The defeat in 74 minutes ended as Safina double faulted.

“Here I am again, in the same situation as last year,” said a hugely disappointed Safina, who was close to tears at the post-match ceremony.

“Sveta deserves the win. I wish her good luck for the rest of the year and the future.”

The only other Russian besides Kuznetsova to have won a singles title at Roland Garros was Anastasia Myskina in 2004.

The loss was Safina’s second failure in a row at Roland Garros after losing the 2008 final to Serb Ana Ivanovic.

Safina quickly lost her nerve after breaking Kuznetsova in the opening game as the seventh seed put her big-match experience to best use on a chilly day.

Safina struck seven double-faults and had 22 unforced errors, the same as Kuznetsosva, who broke five times.

The final was the third between two Russians after Roland Garros, 2004 and the US Open the same year.

Kuznetsova had words of encouragement for the distraught Safina, whose failure to come through will spark more discussion on a WTA ranking system where a player can rise to number one without ever winning a major title.

“She’s an amazing athlete, she works very hard.” said Kuznetsova. “One day she’ll make it here. I respect her a lot, and she plays with too much pressure.

“I play just to have fun and to enjoy it - this is it. But she works hard, and she’s number one because she deserve to be there.”

Safina admitted she was her own enemy on the clay: “I put on myself because I really wanted to win. I just didn’t handle it.

“I was a little bit desperate on the court, and didn’t do the things that I had to do. Didn’t stay tough mentally.”

Kuznetsova is projected to move to fifth in the world when rankings are released Monday while Safina stays number one.

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