Tennis

Dream week for Wozniacki

2011-02-20 19:44
Caroline Wozniacki (AP)

Dubai - Caroline Wozniacki earned her first singles title of 2011, beating an error-prone Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-1, 6-3 in the Dubai Championships final on Sunday.

The Dane, who will retake the No 1 ranking from Kim Clijsters on Monday, was never seriously threatened by the 23rd-ranked Kuznetsova. The Russian will still moves up to 11th in the rankings.

Wozniacki, who didn't drop a set during the week on her way to winning her 13th career title, showed off a more aggressive style that included repeated forays to the net in the first set that helped her race to a 2-0 lead. She closed out the set by winning the final four games as Kuznetsova's game was hurt by missed volleys and erratic shots sent long and wide.

"I definitely went for my shots," Wozniacki said on court after her victory. "It's paying off now. I'm definitely playing better than I have been before."

Wozniacki again took the initiative in the second set, going up 3-1. Kuznetsova pulled a game back but then Wozniacki won the next two games, breaking the Russian to go up 5-2. Kuznetsova showed signs of a fight back, saving two match points on her way to closing the gap to 5-3 but it proved too little, too late.

Kuznetsova went up 30-0 in the next game, getting to a volley from Wozniacki and then firing a crosscourt winner past the Dane. But Wozniacki snuffed out the comeback, hitting a forehand smash to set up match point when Kuznetsova hit another forehand long to hand the Dane the win.

"I felt really good out there today," Wozniacki said. "I felt like I was hitting the ball well, clean, and I could really stay aggressive today. I knew I had to because if Svetlana is allowed to stay and dictate she's just too strong."

Kuznetsova, who came from a set down to beat French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and Tsvetana Pronkova on her way to the final, conceded she didn't have her best game Sunday.

"I just didn't play well. I did too many unforced errors," Kuznetsova said. "She played a basic game and didn't have to do much. I was just making so many unforced errors."

Kuznetsova said it was difficult to come back against Wozniacki, who is considered one of the best defensive players on the tour.

"I think I force too much. This is because she defends well I force too much," Kuznetsova said. "I mean, for me it's very frustrating because I don't play my good game. If I would play my good game and I lose, OK. You know, it's like she played better than me. She does well. She plays a stable game and she wins. But I cannot tell you that she overpowered me or she overran me."

Wozniacki, who lost in the Australian Open semifinals to China's Li Na, also goes into the tournament as No. 1 in the world and will hold that title at least through March 20.

"I like winning, so of course it's important. It's important for me to win," she said. "I hate to lose. For me to stand here as the winner of the tournament, it's a great feeling. I have the confidence. I know I'm playing well. The hard training is paying off. So I'm really pleased."

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