Safina wins in Tokyo

Tokyo, September 21:

Olympic silver medallist Dinara Safina powered past Svetlana Kuznetsova in an all-Russian final to win the Pan Pacific Open, her fourth title of the year.

Safina, the 22-year-old French Open finalist and World No 5, notched a 6-1, 6-3 win over Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open champion and World No 7, to take the title in her first-ever appearance in Tokyo.

Safina beat Kuznetsova thanks to her powerful returns on second serve, winning five of eight break chances. Safina had her first break opportunity at 15-40 in the fourth game of the first set, which she cashed in two points later by charging to the net on a short ball for a backhand volley winner to lead 3-1.

Kuznetsova, who hit a double fault on a break point to lose the first game of the second set, got back to 2-all when Safina double faulted on break point in the fourth game. But Safina piled on the pressure, firing a sizzling forehand passing shot to break back in the following game and pulling off another break in the ninth to finish off.

Guangzhou Open

GUANGZHOU: World No 9 Vera Zvonareva came from a set down to deny Peng Shuai her first WTA title, crushing the Chinese star 6-7 (4/7), 6-0, 6-2 to claim the Guangzhou Open.

The top seed held a 3-0 head-to-head record over fourth seed Peng going into the match and it looked like her winning run could be grinding to a halt when she lost the first set.

But Peng self-destructed, losing 11 games in a row to throw away her chance of becoming only the third Chinese player after Li Na and Zheng Jie to win a WTA title.