Former world No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova looked like her old baseline-bashing self, crushing Puerto Rican qualifier Monica Puig 6-0, 6-2 on Friday to raise the title at the Sydney International.
The 30-year-old won her 16th career title, and her first since her one win in 2015 at Moscow.
The title run was more impressive considering that earlier in the day the Russian toppled top seed and world No. 2 Simona Halep 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3 in a rain-delayed match from the previous day.
“It feels like I’m 16, it feels great,” said Kuznetsova, who last appeared in the Sydney final eight years ago, losing to Justin Henin. “Everything went my way. I thought I would be tired but I felt great. It was one of my best finals. I felt really comfortable.”
In the final Kuznetsova led 6-0, 3-0 before Puig, who looked weary from running all the way from the qualifying rounds, finally got on the board.
“I played some amazing tennis this week so I’m really proud of what I’ve done,” said Puig after her seventh match of the week. “She just did everything so well. It was her day. There wasn’t much I could do. The only answer I have is that she was the better player.”
Kuznetsova said her off-season training is paying off as she heads for Melbourne, where she will look to surpass the quarterfinals for the first time.
“I do put a lot of effort into my pre-season,” said the No. 25-ranked Kuznetsova. “The biggest thing I have to do is listen to myself…It comes from hard work.”
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