Safina beats Wozniacki for Madrid title

Dinara Safina beat Danish teenager Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday to win the Madrid Open.

updated: May 17, 2009 14:09 IST
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Dinara Safina beat Danish teenager Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday to win the Madrid Open.

The top-ranked Russian player goes into the French Open with two straight clay titles following last week's victory in Rome.

Safina overpowered her 18-year-old opponent with 24 winners and three break points at the "Magic Box" tennis center. It is Safina's 11th career title.

"Since I became No. 1 I'm playing better and better," the 23-year-old Safina said.

Wozniacki, facing a top-ranked player for the first time, will become the first Dane to crack the top-10 in next week's rankings after reaching her third final of the season.

Safina will go into Roland Garros buoyed by her recent success on clay after finishing runner-up at the Australian Open and Stuttgart earlier this year.

She got off to a quick start against her younger opponent, who she was playing for the first time, scoring a break in the third game after both held serve to start. Another break proved enough for her to take the first set.

"I was feeling very comfortable from the start of the match and I was trying to be as aggressive as I could," said Safina, who was bothered by a slight knee problem. "But even in the key moments I was very strong."

Wozniacki, who hadn't dropped a set in reaching the final, hit a forehand long to be broken again at the start of the second and then could only watch as Safina slammed a two-handed backhand down the line for 2-0.

Wozniacki had Safina scrambling and looked set to clinch her first break point in the fourth game, but was lobbed after coming to the net. Safina then took a 3-1 lead when Wozniacki hit the ball out.

In the eighth game of the set, Wozniacki set up three of her five break chances with some delicate drop shots, but her good work was undone by several of her 22 unforced errors.

Safina is now 14-1 on clay this season.

Top-ranked Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer meet for the 16th time in a final later Sunday, which is also the first meeting since Nadal's Australian Open victory over the Swiss player.

Nadal has won five straight finals over Federer, including at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and Melbourne, where the second-ranked Swiss player was reduced to tears.

Nadal won in the Spanish capital in 2005 and Federer a year later when the tournament was played on indoor hard courts.

Nadal, the four-time defending French Open champion who is 25-1 in clay court finals, saved three match points to rally past Novak Djokovic in a Masters Series record 4 hour-plus semifinal on Saturday.