Kuznetsova reaches Tokyo final
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:02
The fifth-seeded Kuznetsova forged a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 victory over Srebotnik in their semi-final match to give her a shot at a tenth career title and her first since August 2007 at New Haven.
The odds were stacked against the world number seven reaching the final here with top-seeded Jelena Jankovic and nemesis Srebotnik in her half of the draw.
However, after ousting Jankovic in three sets on Friday, Kuznetsova set her sights on Srebotnik, who improved to 2-1 against the Russian when she scored an upset in the third round of the US Open last month.
The Slovenian qualifier, who made headlines earlier this year with a third-round upset of Serena Williams at the French Open, fired six aces and took advantage of five double faults by Kuznetsova to force a tiebreaker in the first set.
But, after outlasting Srebotnik in the tiebreak, Kuznetsova forged three break points in the second set to cruise to victory and her first final appearance since Indian Wells in March.
Kuznetsova will face fourth-seeded compatriot Dinara Safina, who had no problem booking her place in the final.
Safina posted a 6-1 6-0 victory over fellow Russian Nadia Petrova to advance to her seventh final of 2008.
The 22-year-old has been one of the best players on the WTA since May, claiming three titles, but she had not beaten Petrova in five previous meetings.
That run came to end at the $1.34 million event as Safina blasted seven aces, won 29-of-39 (74%) service points while forging seven break points, winning five. Petrova, who upset second seed Ana Ivanovic in the second round, never forced a break point.