Kuznetsova beats Safina in Porsche GP final

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/k/kuznetsovaus.jpg' class='caption'> Svetlana Kuznetsova upset top-ranked Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday to win the Porsche Grand Prix and capture her first WTA title since September 2007.

Updated: May 03, 2009 16:06 IST
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Stuttgart, Germany:

Svetlana Kuznetsova upset top-ranked Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday to win the Porsche Grand Prix and capture her first WTA title since September 2007.

Safina became No. 1 two weeks ago but failed to win her first tournament as the top-ranked player in the world.

Kuznetsova, the 2004 U.S Open champion who is now ranked No. 9, had lost her last six finals, although she had not made another one this year before Stuttgart. But she was in command in Sunday's all-Russian showdown with her aggressive, big-hitting game and won on her third match point with an overhead smash.

"It's been a while. It's great to be here and win," Kuznetsova said before taking a spin on the court in a white Porsche convertible sports car that she won as first prize. "It was a bit scary but I will definitely keep it. It's special."

Kuznetsova won the Stuttgart event in her fifth try.

"This win means a lot to me," Kuznetsova said. "It's a just reward for all the suffering. It was a difficult last year for me."

Safina, the Australian Open runner-up, dropped her serve in the final game of the first set. Kuznetsova set it up with a perfect return down the line and Safina then put a backhand into the net.

She had two chances to break Kuznetsova's serve in the third game of the second, but Kuznetsova held. Once she took a 4-2 lead, Kuznetsova never looked behind.

Safina saved one match at 5-3 and one more in the next game, but Kuznetsova in the end had too much fire power.

"She played very well and I didn't feel very well today," Safina said. "But I am still No. 1."

"I was a little passive," Safina said. "I let her dominate."

Safina had won the last four matches against Kuznetsova and still leads the series 7-5.

"She took me out of the court the last time we played so I had to be aggressive from the start and not let her get into the match," Kuznetsova said. "I moved and served much better."

Kuznetsova moved back to Moscow last year after living in Spain for some time and dropped her coach.

"It's a great success to win here," she said of the tournament that brought together six of the top 10 players in the world. "I changed almost everything last year. I had a very tough time. But my soul feels at home in Russia."

A former No. 2 in the world, Kuznetsova said getting to the top remains one of her goals, along with winning some more Grand Slam titles.

Safina said she felt frustrated by her poor effort.

"I didn't use my shots. I didn't do anything to win the match. I tried, but there was nothing coming out of my racket," Safina said. "It's disappointing."

The Stuttgart tournament used to be played on a hard surface, but has become the first indoor event on clay on the circuit and is a warm-up event for the French Open.

"It was a good test for me, to see what I did wrong," Safina said. "It was a good lesson."

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