Kuznetsova wins French Open

PARIS: Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-2 in an all-Russian final of the French Open on Saturday to take away her second Grand Slam title.

It was a comprehensive win for the 23-year-old seventh seed who lost in the final here in 2006 to Justine Henin two years after she stunned the world of tennis by winning the US Open as a 19-year-old.

For Safina it was a crushing way to end a two-week-long campaign geared at securing a first Grand Slam title and proving that she is a worthy of the world number one spot.

It was the second straight year she has lost in the final here going down in straight sets to Ana Ivanovic of Serbia last year and her second successive Grand Slam final defeat having lost to Serena Williams in Melbourne this year.

"It was so many years since I won a Grand Slam and I thought it would never happen again," Kuznetsova said.

"Today when I was coming onto the court I knew everything was going to be fine. It was the same as before when I won the US Open."

It was the 14th time the two had met as professionals, Safina leading 8-5, but they go further back than that having been rivals in Russia in girls' tournaments as they were growing up.

With conditons cold, damp and overcast and the Court Philippe Chatrier three-quarters full, Safina was quickest out of the blocks breaking Kuznetsova to 15.

But the younger of the two 23-year-olds surrendered that advantage immediately with a nervy service game that included a double fault and two unforced errors.

Safina was in trouble on serve again at 2-3 down when a double fault and a deft Kuznetsova drop shot left her at 0-30, but she came out on top of a marathon rally and then took the next three points to level the score.

Two games later though and on the back of another double fault, the Muscovite went 0-40 down. She saved the first two of those breakpoints but was left flat-footed by a raking Kuznetsova backhand drive on the third.

The St Petersburg-born player, however, failed to cash in, dropping her serve for the second time in the next game.

That mattered little though as she struck again in the following game, staggering Safina by running round her backhand to hit an outright winner and then forcing the world No.1 into slapping a forehand into the net.

Kuznetsova held serve to open the second set and Safina was beginning to berate herself for allowing her smaller and less powerful rival for the crown to dominate most of their rallies.

Games went with serve until the sixth game when a sixth double fault gave Kuznetsova the edge and she broke for the fourth time in the match shortly after when Safina blasted a forehand wide and long.

Kuznetsova held serve to make it 5-2 and then her pressure on the Safina serve paid dividends again with a seventh double fault on match point.

It was all over in 74 minutes and was the eighth consecutive straight sets women's final at Roland Garros.