By Erik Gudris | Sunday, August 3, 2014
Svetlana Kuznetsova won a hard fought three set battle to win her first title in four years at the Citi Open.
Photo Credit: Christopher Levy
For Svetlana Kuznetsova, the wait is over.
The Russian veteran won her first WTA title in four years in Sunday's Citi Open final at Washington, D.C. But her opponent, Kurumi Nara of Japan, made her work hard for it.
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In a first time meeting for both, Kuznetsova took control of the first set after trading early breaks. Soon, the Russian claimed the set 6-3.
When Kuznetsova jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, it looked for a moment she might cruise to victory. That didn't happen as Nara fought back to level the set.
Kuznetsova helped her opponent's cause by committing multiple unforced errors. Nara, buoyed by the crowd, served out the set 6-4.
Returning from an extended bathroom break appeared to refresh Kuznetsova who opened the final set serving with more authority. Nara didn't back down either as soon both players held their serves with neither facing a break point.
The key game came at 4-all with Nara fighting to earn a break point. Kuznetsova saved it with a forehand winner and then clawed out a 5-4 lead.
Kuznetsova pressured Nara with several big groundstrokes and found herself at double match point. Winning a final tense rally, the Russian spread her arms in celebration with the 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory.
D.C. is now the first WTA title for Kuznetsova since winning Carlsbad in 2010 and her 14th overall.
"There's many things in your head but you have to push them back," Kuznetsova said about the final set. "I was just trying to hang in there and get my serves and in that last game I just thought, 'I need four balls.' 'Please give me four balls.' And I raised my game a little bit and played a heavier ball."
Kuznetsova never dwelled on not having won a title in four years. She still feels she has the game to be back in the top 10 again.
"On my level I don't think that I am not there. In my level of game I am there. I can beat the top 10 but it's a matter of results. It's a matter of...the year is very long and some moments and if one match would go my way it would change completely the whole year...It's not that I don't believe I am there. I completely believe I am there."