World No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki breezed to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Vera Zvonareva in the final of the rain-hit Montreal Cup on Monday, confirming her status as the red-hot favorite for the US Open.
Wozniacki, runner-up to Kim Clijsters at last year’s US Open, once again appears to be hitting her hard-court stride at just the right moment collecting her third win of the season and second hard-court title in three weeks.
Following the victory, the 20-year-old Dane quickly packed her bags and headed off for her final US Open tune-up in New Haven where she is the top seed and defending champion.
A razor-sharp Wozniacki began the day crushing Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-3 in their rain-delayed semi-final held over from Saturday and then disposed of Wimbledon finalist Zvonareva in just 74 minutes.
“After waiting around two days and unable to play, I actually felt a little bit tired going out for my first match because mentally you have to be prepared all the time,” Wozniacki told reporters. “But I’m so happy, I won two matches today and it is a great feeling.”
The players were back on center court just two hours after their semi-final matches and Zvonareva, who advanced when Victoria Azarenka retired with blisters while trailing 7-6, 1-0, was quick out of the blocks with the early break.
However, Wozniacki was soon in control sweeping through the next four games.
Zvonareva had a chance to extend the set earning triple break point with Wozniacki serving at 5-3 but could not convert, the Dane fighting back take the first.
Wozniacki kept up the pressure in the second gaining the early break while a frustrated Zvonareva started gesturing and talking to herself.
Sensing the Russian’s aggravation, Wozniacki moved in for the kill with another break in the seventh game then served out to clinch her ninth career title.
Wozniacki, who is likely to be awarded the No. 1 seed at Flushing Meadows after world No. 1 Serena Williams was ruled out of the Grand Slam with an injury, can take over top spot in the rankings with a successful title defense in New Haven and a victory at the US Open.
“Of course I would like to be No. 1 in the world but Serena is a great champion, she’s won so many Grand Slams,” Wozniacki said.
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Russian Dinara Safina upset French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the opening round of the Pilot Pen tennis tournament on Monday.
Safina’s win came less than a week after she lost in straight sets to Schiavone in Montreal. She has been hampered all year by a back injury.
“When you lose a match and you say, ‘God, I wish I could replay this match to play one more time to do the things different,’” she said. “And I got this chance to play [Schiavone] here.”
Nadia Petrova of Russia rallied to beat Varvara Lepchenko of the US 1-6, 7-5, 6-1. Petrova was a late addition to the field after an ankle injury forced Ana Ivanovic to withdraw.
“It’s been actually, an amazing opportunity, because I feel like I need a few matches before the US Open,” Petrova said.
Russia’s Elena Dementieva almost missed the start of her first-round match and had to be tracked down on the practice courts.
She then went out and beat Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.
US teenager Melanie Oudin lost 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 to lucky loser Dominka Cibulkova of Slovakia. Oudin, 18, was hoping to get in a few more matches before heading back to the US Open, where she became the US’ darling last year with a run to the quarter-finals.