Flawless Kuznetsova wins Sydney title

Svetlana Kuznetsova produced a vintage performance to defeat Monica Puig for the Apia International Sydney 2016 title.

15 January 2016
By Matt Trollope

Update 10.20pm: Svetlana Kuznetsova has produced a masterful performance to defeat Monica Puig in the Apia International Sydney.

Kuznetsova blasted to a 6-0 6-2 win in just 55 minutes to lift her first trophy in Sydney, and 16th overall.

She finished the match with a sparkling 25 winners and seven aces, and committed just four unforced errors.

“It’s great. I mean, honestly I didn’t expect, but also, I never even one event I went thinking about winning. You just go there and perform and everything went my way,” she said.

“It was not the easy schedule for me with doubles matches, with rain delays, with tough match with Simona this morning and last night.

“I’m really happy.”

Kuznetsova was in cruise control from the outset.

Moving superbly, serving strongly and playing with controlled aggression, she won nine games in a row to open up a 6-0 3-0 lead.

Puig eventually got on the board with a service hold in the fourth game of the second set, drawing supportive cheers from the large crowd at Ken Rosewall Arena.

“One of my best finals feelings, yes,” Kuznetsova said when asked to assess her level of play.

“I went out there and I felt like it was not even necessary to hit the ball that hard, because even if I put a ball back – like sometimes, not all the time – she wouldn’t get to the winner.

“Because I was moving well, I felt really comfortable recovering many balls back, and I wanted to be aggressive, but I didn’t feel like I had to go for a lot all the time. Then to beat me or to win the point, she had to work really hard and really make a great shot.

“Just went everything my way.”

Puig agreed.

“She just did so well. She did everything so well. She defended well; she attacked well; she neutralised when I started attacking. She came up with some incredible passing shots as well when I tried to move into the net,” she said.

“Not a whole lot that I could say. It was her day.”

Despite appearing in total control of the match, Kuznetsova was still wary of an opponent who had won seven straight matches since commencing the tournament in qualifying.

A minor dip in play was soon rectified.

“I fell asleep a little bit on 4-1, 4-2, I believe, then I served and it was like very important point, first point of 4-2 on my serve, and I made a great passing shot which kept me going. This was important moment for me,” she said.

“I was just thinking, Don’t relax, don’t relax, don’t relax. You’re doing so great. Don’t relax.

“You don’t want to think that you’re 6-0 up. Then important thing is to start well the (second) set, because things can completely change other direction.

“So I was just focused on keep my game on and do the same thing. I felt like if I keep playing the same way, it’s no way I going to go down.”

Kuznetsova walks away with 470 ranking points and $128,800 for her victory, her second title in four events after winning in Moscow in late 2015.

She has now won 12 of her past 14 matches.

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