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Safina gains swift revenge in Rome

Top-ranked Russian Dinara Safina gained swift revenge on Svetlana Kuznetsova yesterday by thrashing her compatriot 6-3 6-2 to win the Italian Open in the pair's second consecutive final.

Safina clinched a scrappy first set and ran away with the second for her 10th singles title, the first of 2009 after she lost her third final of the year against Kuznetsova at the Stuttgart Grand Prix last Sunday.

The two 23-year-olds, both former finalists here, struggled for rhythm at the start. After an early trade of breaks, Safina went 4-1 up but then helped former US Open champion Kuznetsova come back to 4-3 with a series of poor shots.

She took serve again immediately after though and held her own with ease for the first time in the match to take the set, wrapping it up with a smash.

Safina, who became number one for the first time last month, then broke twice to stroll home in the second set although Kuznetsova did manage to save two match points before bowing out.

It was easily Safina's most straightforward match of the week. Her previous three games all went to three sets, including an epic semi-final victory over Venus Williams on Friday.

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