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Nic Ladds 5th Jun 2009 - 14:52

From Russia with love

The women's singles French Open final is an all-Russian affair, as odds-on favourite Dinara Safina takes on Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Safina - runner-up at Roland Garros to Ana Ivanovic twelve months ago - has been in imperious form over the last fortnight, losing just one set.

That Victoria Azarenka actually managed to take six games off the world number one to win a set in their quarter-final came as a shock, such was Safina's dominance up to that point. However, normal service was resumed in the semi-final as the top-seed blew Dominika Cibulkova, conqueror of Maria Sharapova, away.

Kuznetsova, on the other hand, has had a slightly tougher path to Saturday's grand finalé, having been taken to three sets in each of her last three matches, including in her stunning defeat of ten-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams.

The seventh-seed is in the form - and physical shape - of her life and will be a much sterner test for Safina than anyone she's faced thus far. Whether her form is good enough to upset the odds and claim the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen is a different matter altogether.

The pair do have a history - they've met on the clay of Roland Garros twice in the last four years, with one win apiece, and have also met in two clay finals this season already - again sharing the spoils.

If Svetlana plays to her potential and doesn't roll over like Dinara's previous six opponents, we could be in for an exciting encounter in western-Paris.

Dinara Safina v Svetlana Kuznetsova - Saturday 14:10


Head-to-head stats - how do these two players compare?
Dinara Safina
Name Svetlana Kuznetsova
1 French Open seed 7
1 Current WTA ranking 7
1 (20 April 2009) Career high WTA ranking 2 (10 September 2007)
27 April 1986 (age 23) Birth date 27 June 1985 (age 23)
Moscow, Russia Birth place St. Petersburg, Russia
Monte Carlo, Monaco Residence Monte Carlo, Monaco
5'11.5" (182 cm) Height 5'8.5" (174 cm)
154.5 lbs (70 kg) Weight 161 lbs (73 kg)
Right-handed Plays Right-handed
2000 Turned professional 2000
Željko Krajan Coach Larisa Savchenko
2 YTD singles titles 1
28/6 YTD singles won/lost 21/7
$1,864,243 YTD prize money $738,184
11 Career singles titles 10
309/139 Career singles won/lost 365/152
$7,321,494 Career prize money $10,877,002
0 Grand Slam titles 1
Best Grand Slam results
Runner-up ('09) Australian Open Quarter-final ('05, '09)
Runner-up ('08) French Open Runner-up ('06)
Third-round ('05, '06, '08) Wimbledon Quarter-final ('03, '05, '07)
Semi-inal ('08) US Open Winner ('04)
Previous meetings
Year Tournament Surface Round Winner Score
2000 ITF Mallorca
Clay R32 Safina 4-5, 4-1, 4-1, 4-0
2001 WTA Madrid
Clay R16 Kuznetsova 7-6, 6-3
2003 WTA Doha
Hard R16 Safina 6-4, 6-3
2006 WTA Rome
Clay SF Safina 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
2006 French Open
Clay QF Kuznetsova 7-6, 6-0
2006 WTA Sydney
Hard R16 Kuznetsova 6-3, ret.
2007 WTA Rome
Clay QF Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-3
2008 WTA Montreal
Hard QF Safina 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
2008 French Open
Clay SF Safina 6-3, 6-2
2008 WTA Tokyo
Hard Final Safina 6-1, 6-3
2008 WTA Moscow
Hard QF Safina 6-4, 7-5
2009 WTA Stuttgart
Clay Final Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-3
2009 WTA Rome
Clay Final Safina 6-3, 6-2

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