World No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki saw off Elena Dementieva in a tough battle to win the Pan Pacific Open women’s tennis tournament yesterday.
The Danish top seed, who crashed out in her opening matches in her previous two visits to Tokyo, made it third time lucky with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over the Beijing Olympic gold medalist from Russia.
Seventh seed Dementieva got off to a flying start, racing to a 4-0 first set lead with an array of winners from the baseline.
By contrast Wozniacki failed to hit a single winner from the baseline and had to wait until Dementieva mishit a shot in the fifth game to hold for 1-4.
Wozniacki saved two set points in the fifth game before double faulting to lose the set.
After missing a couple of break points in the first game of the second set, Wozniacki took a 2-1 lead when Dementieva hit a backhand into the net and went on to win the set.
After an exchange of breaks in the final set, Wozniacki added another in the seventh game to move up 4-3 as a Dementieva forehand hit the net.
The error seemed to hit Dementieva hard and the two-hour match came to an abrupt end when the Russian double faulted twice in a row on match point.
“In the first set I didn’t get the ball in a way I wanted, but in the second set, I stepped up a little bit, and we had two close sets, and I’m happy that I’m standing here as the winner,” Wozniacki said. “I won the important points and I just kept fighting. I’m happy that I won the last point.”
It was her fifth title of the season, following triumphs at Ponte Vedra Beach, Copenhagen, -Montreal and New Haven, and 11th overall and earned her the top prize of US$350,000.
Wozniacki, who avenged her defeat by Dementieva in the 2008 Olympics round of 16, also took the lead in the pair’s head-to-head record. She now has four wins and three defeats against the Russian.
The 20-year-old Dane, who could take the world No. 1 spot next week at the China Open, eliminated her good friends Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on her way to the final.
? CHINA OPEN
World No. 6 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia opened her China Open campaign yesterday with a gritty straight sets win over Czech veteran Klara Zakopalova, as play got under way in the women’s draw.
Jankovic, the third seed in Beijing and the only seeded player in action yesterday, slugged it out with Zakopalova from the baseline, but eventually capitalized on the Czech’s weak serving, breaking her a total of seven times.
The 25-year-old Serb — trying to rebound from an early loss to Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi in the Pan Pacific Open this week in Tokyo — also kept Zakopalova off-balance by mixing her heavy groundstrokes with the occasional lob.
The former world No. 1 admitted she had struggled to recover from an ankle injury suffered after Wimbledon, but said she hoped to do well in Beijing as a stepping stone to the season-ending -championships in Doha.
In other first-round play, Swiss veteran left-hander Patty Schnyder breezed through her opening match, defeating Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova 6-1, 6-4.
The 31-year-old Schnyder, ranked 44th in the world, overwhelmed the Kazakh with her power from the baseline, sealing the victory with a wicked forehand winner down the line.
Germany’s Andrea Petkovic and Olga Govortsova of Belarus advanced easily.