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Rediff.com  » Sports » Safina thrashes Kuznetsova to win Tokyo title

Safina thrashes Kuznetsova to win Tokyo title

September 21, 2008 15:33 IST

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

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

"God knows how far I can get!" Safina, a recent US Open semi-finalist, told reporters. "I've played the best tennis I've ever played this week."

The triumph was also the 22-year-old's third Tier One title of the year following wins in Berlin and Montreal.

"I knew I still had so much more inside," she said after matching world number one Serena Williams for a season-high four WTA Tour titles. "It suddenly clicked in my mind."

Safina 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 had no answer to her opponent's power and Safina moved in for the kill, whipping a forehand cross court to secure the decisive break in the fifth game of the second set.

Kuznetsova, who helped Russia retain their Fed Cup title in Spain last weekend, yelled in frustration after missing a routine forehand put-away that would have hauled her back to 4-4.

Safina showed no mercy, closing out victory in the next game when a Kuznetsova drop shot floated wide.

As she walked off court, Safina pulled out her mobile phone and began exchanging text messages with her family, although not with big brother Marat Safin, the former men's number one.

"We haven't spoken for about two weeks," she said with a laugh.

"I was texting my mum. I know Marat's flying to Bangkok today. I guess he'll text me later to say 'Well done'."

Despite her disappointing performance, Kuznetsova was quick to pay tribute to her opponent.

"Dinara played unbelievably well today," the former US. Open champion said. "She was the favourite to win and she did it. She definitely has what it takes to be number one."

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