Posted by Barrie on Saturday, 6 June 2009

Svetlana Kuznetsova holds nerves to defeat Safina in Roland Garros final

Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated world number 1 Dinara Safina 6-4 6-2 to claim her 2nd Grand Slam, following her US Open success in 2004.

Dinara Safina looked nervous before she walked out onto court, but made the perfect start in steadying those nerves by breaking her Russian opponent to 15. Svetlana Kuznetsova wasn't affected by this as she took the next 8 points for a 2-1 lead. Both players face tough holds after this which they succeeded as they kept the game close at the start. Kuznetsova, the underdog began her screetches in game 8 when she took at 0-40 lead, and eventually took the third break point for a 5-3 lead and a chance to serve for the set. Nerves kicked in for the older of the 23 year old Russians as she handed the break back to Safina with 4 unforced errors. Svetlana quickly recouped and took the set on Dinara's serve with some excellent shots.

Kuznetsova looked more composed on her serve, and when Safina overhit what should have been a winner in the opening point of game 3, frustration began to kick in. Safina was struggling on her own serve, with a low percentage of first serves hitting the spot, and rarely causing Kuznetsova problems on the return. And the inevitable hapend in game 6 of the second set with some unforced errors from the favourite, Kuznetsova took the first of two break points in the set for a 4-2 lead and was odds-on to win her second Grand Slam from there. She even had time to do a few keepy-uppy's in the next game, and followed that up with the hold for a 5-2 lead.

Dinara Safina finished the game with a double fault to hand the title to Svetlana Kuznetsova, the deserved winner of this match. Her forehand and choice of shots was better, whilst Safina was making more errors and didn't change her game which lost her the first set. Kuznetsova's variety and shotmaking was tremendous, despite errors of her own. Her serve was much the stronger, and more importantly she was winning the close and important points. This title moves her up to number 5 in the world.

The world number 1 produced tears once again as she has now lost all 3 of her Grand Slams without taking a single set.

Steffi Graf presented Kuznetsova with her newly-won French Open title that she lifted above her head to a round-of-applause from the French crowd.

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