Ruthless Kuznetsova demolishes Puig in Sydney final

Fri Jan 15, 2016 6:21am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Svetlana Kuznetsova rolled back the years with a ruthless 6-0 6-2 demolition of Puerto Rican qualifier Monica Puig to win her 16th WTA title at the Sydney International on Friday.

In 55 minutes of one-sided tennis, the 30-year-old former French and U.S. Open champion showed that her rivals should not take her lightly at next week's Australian Open, despite her current lowly ranking.

Kuznetsova's performance was all the more impressive given the Russian had already spent more than two hours on the court earlier on Friday completing her semi-final tussle with world number two Simona Halep, finally winning out 7-6(5) 4-6 6-3.

While that match, held over from Thursday after a thunderstorm wreaked havoc with the schedule at Olympic Park, was a hard-fought battle, the same could not be said of the final clash on Ken Rosewall Arena.

Eight years after her last appearance in the Sydney final, when she lost to Justine Henin, Kuznetsova was a ball of energy from the first serve to the double fault by Puig that handed her the title.

"It feels like I'm 16, it feels great. Everything went my way," Kuznetsova told reporters. "I thought I would be tired but I felt great. It was one of my best finals. I felt really comfortable."

The world number 25 strutted around the court firing winners from both sides and feasting on Puig's second serve to bring a shuddering halt to the Puerto Rican's fairytale run at Olympic Park.

It was not until the fourth game of the second set that the shell-shocked Puig was able to get on the scoreboard, her first service hold earning her a huge ovation from a sympathetic crowd.   Continued...

Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia poses with her trophy after winning the Sydney International tennis women's singles title in Sydney, Australia January 15, 2016. Kuznetsova defeated Monica Puig of Puerto Rico to win the Australian tournament. REUTERS/Jason Reed