PARIS — Svetlana Kuznetsova conquered her nerves and beat a shaky Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-2 Saturday to win the French Open.
Showing uncharacteristic calm, Kuznetsova earned her second Grand Slam title. Jitters have often betrayed Kuznetsova down the stretch in big matches, but she swept the final four games with steady play.
Instead it was the top-ranked Safina who battled her emotions in the all-Russian matchup. She double-faulted seven times, struggled with her movement and appeared near tears late in the match.
“Definitely it was a lot of emotions inside of me, but I control it,” Kuznetsova said.
“She was too tight. She had so much pressure on her.”
Four-time French Open champion Justine Henin and others have criticized Safina’s ranking because she has yet to win a major title. She climbed to No. 1 in April and will remain there through at least late July, but she’s now 0-3 in Grand Slam finals.
The younger sister of two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin was runner-up at Roland Garros last year to Ana Ivanovic.
“Here I am back in the same situation as last year,” Safina said during the trophy ceremony, her voice cracking. “Hopefully one day I can win here.”
The loss, which ended her 16-match winning streak, was the latest in a series of lopsided women’s finals at Roland Garros. The last one to go three sets was in 2001, when Jennifer Capriati beat Kim Clijsters.
Today, Roger Federer will play in his fourth consecutive Roland Garros final, with one big difference this year: He’s facing Robin Soderling, not Rafael Nadal. Federer will bid for his 14th major title to match Pete Sampras’ record, and he’ll try to become the sixth man to win all four Grand Slam titles.
Soderling will play in his first major final after upsetting four-time defending champion Nadal in the fourth round.