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Three titles on the bounce for J.J. - but Marat Safin was denied a first title in nearly four years by Igor Kunitsyn...

Jankovic claims Kremlin Cup crown

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Originally published on 26/02/10 11:17

World No.1 Jelena Jankovic sealed her fourth title of 2008 and third in succession with a 6-2 6-4 victory against Vera Zvonareva in the Kremlin Cup final.

“I feel really emotional winning my third event in a row here,” Jankovic said afterwards. “I’m really close to finishing the year as the world No.1 and I think it’s a great achievement for me.”

The 23-year-old started the match with an immediate break for a comfortable 2-0 lead and never looked back, breaking again to take the opening set in just over half an hour.

Jankovic twice lead by a break in the second set only for Zvonareva to level on both occasions – but in game 9 the Serb sealed the decisive break, and closed out the match.

But while the women’s event couldn’t buck the form book, in the men’s event unseeded Russian Igor Kunitsyn overturned his illustrious compatriot Marat Safin to claim the first title of his career after a marathon final.

Safin, who No.7 seed, produced 21 aces but all in vain as Kunitsyn won 7-6(6) 6-7(4) 6-3 after nearly three hours.

“Everybody knows Marat is better than me – but today I’m the winner”

The former world No.1 was chasing his first title since winning the Australian Open in 2005, but could not break down a tenacious performance from the world No.71, unseeded in Moscow.

“Everybody knows Marat is better than me – but today I’m the winner,” an elated Kunitsyn admitted afterwards. “It’s terrific to win my first title in front of my home fans and I hope I would be able to defend it here next year.”

Both Safin, playing his first final since the 2006 Kremlin Cup, and Kunitsyn, who was playing the first final of his career, held their serves throughout the first set before Kunitsyn nicked the tiebreak with some cool percentage play under pressure.

Kunitsyn broke midway through the second set but Safin immediately levelled and forced another tiebreak, which he won to send the match into a decider.

Again Kunitsyn broke but Safin was found wanting in reply, and was helpless as his countryman closed out the match for his first ATP title.

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Three titles on the bounce for J.J. - but Marat Safin was denied a first title in nearly four years by Igor Kunitsyn...
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