Commencing with the U.S. Open, a perpetual dark cloud has loomed over the WTA’s top seeds; most have failed to reach the latter rounds of tournaments or win in finals. Today at the China Open, a premier event, Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, world number 6, let the sun through by defeating Pole Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-4 in the finals. For Svetlana, it is her second China Open title and her third trophy this year.
With a backhand crosscourt winner, Kuznetsova fabricated double break point in the opening game. Although Radwanska got to deuce, a netted forehand volley and backhand stroke ultimately handed the break to her rival. Subsequently, Svetlana had a comfortable game to consolidate. After Agnieszka scored with an ace for 1-2, on her next service trip, with a double fault and forehand down the line winner by Svetlana, the Pole faced double break point again. This time, Kuznetsova sealed the deal with another crosscourt forehand winner for 4-1. After Kuznetsova put her guard down the next game, Radwanska broke. But, the Russian aggressive play was rewarded shortly. With the Pole’s weak second serve too inviting to her adversary, Kuznetsova captured another break when Radwanska’s forehand sailed long. Then, by converting a forehand up the line winner on her serve, Kuznetsova bedded the first set 6-2.
The Russian in the second set continued her great play, getting to deuce after her opponent had two game points. Later, by forcing two forehand errors from Radwanska, Kuznetsova edged ahead with a break. Because of sloppy play from her opponent, Radwanska had four chances to get back on serve. However, by serving well, Kuznetsova held to consolidate at 2-0. Courtesy of a few backhand errors by Kuznetsova, Radwanska secured her first game. Yet, from that point on, Kuznetsova cruised on serve. At 5-4, the Russian produced an ace for double match point and with an unreturnable serve closed out the championship.
Kuznetsova was the only top ten seed to make it to the semifinals in Beijing. Elena Dementieva, world number 4, and Vera Zvonareva, world number 7, were stopped at the quarterfinal stage. Dinara Safina, world number 1, and Venus Williams, world number 3, crashed out in the second round. Despite a third round exit, by virtue of Safina’s loss, Serena William becomes number one again on Monday. Moreover, Radwanska will move from 11th back into the top ten and is well in contention for the eight and final spot at Sony Championships in Doha.