Sveta Hangs On, Wins San Diego
Published August 08, 2010 12:00
SAN DIEGO, CA, USA - Svetlana Kuznetsova and Agnieszka Radwanska were starved for finals, neither of them making it to one since Beijing last fall; and when they got back into the finals this week that hunger showed, as the two battled it out for over two and a half hours before Kuznetsova finally won.
Kuznetsova, who fell out of the Top 20 four weeks ago, her first time out of the elite since 2004, was unseeded at the Mercury Insurance Open, but with two Grand Slams to her name and being a former No.2, it was hard to count her out.
Kuznetsova ousted No.8 seed Yanina Wickmayer and No.5 seed Flavia Pennetta en route to the final, and although she had a tough time keeping leads she hung on against Radwanska, winning a 64 67(7) 63 marathon. The most dramatic moments came in the second set tie-break as Kuznetsova let go of four match points - 6-3, 6-4, 6-5, 7-6 - before finally closing it out in three.
"I had my advantages in the second set and it was very hard to forget them, but I started all over again. I had to be stronger. I believe I am, and I proved it," Kuznetsova said. "It was a big relief to win, because it had been such a long time since my last title, also because of losing the second set like that."
Kuznetsova is now 13-18 in career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour finals.
"It's always disappointing to lose a match, especially a final, but in the important moments at the end she was better," Radwanska said. "She started playing better and more consistently in the third. I had chances but didn't use them."
None of the Top 3 seeds made it past the quarterfinals. No.1 seed Jelena Jankovic fell to Alisa Kleybanova in the second round, No.2 seed Samantha Stosur fell to Pennetta in the quarters and No.3 seed Vera Zvonareva was ousted in a second round stunner by American qualifier Coco Vandeweghe.
Maria Kirilenko and Zheng Jie completed a perfect first week as a doubles team later in the day. The No.4 seeds upset No.2 seeds - and 2000 San Diego champions - Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs in the final, 64 64. Kirilenko won her seventh Tour doubles title, Zheng her 13th Tour doubles title.