Svetlana Kuznetsova spoilt Agnieszka Radwanska’s perfect finals record on Sunday with a 62 64 win in the title match of the China Open, the French Open champion’s third Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title of the year and the 12th of her career.
Kuznetsova, the No.6 seed at the $4.5-million, Premier-level tournament, broke serve in the opening game and would end up cruising through the first set in just 31 minutes. The second set was tougher but again she broke the No.12 seed in the opening game before the pair held on tightly to their service games the rest of the set until the Russian completed the one-hour, 19-minute victory.
Kuznetsova’s first two titles of the year came at Stuttgart and Roland Garros during the spring. She went 8-7 in her seven tournaments since the Parisian triumph, including an opening round loss to a qualifier at Tokyo last week – but in Beijing, where she had never lost before the final in three previous tries, she came to life again, eventually blemishing Radwanska’s 4-0 record in finals and beating her nemesis for the third time in their last six meetings.
By virtue of reaching the final, Radwanska assured herself of a return to the Top 10. She spent 35 weeks inside the Top 10 between July 7, 2008 and March 22, 2009 (dropping out for the 2008 US Open fortnight but spending all other weeks inside that period inside the elite). She had been hovering between No.11 and No.14 ever since dropping out on March 23 this year (after Indian Wells).