Safina wins East West title

July 27, 2008 08:56 PM
CARSON, Calif. (AP) -- Dinara Safina beat Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-2 to win the East West Bank Classic singles Sunday.

The 22-year-old Russian closed out the 70-minute match with a crosscourt backhand return for her sixth straight service break to win her second title this season.

Safina was the third player this year to win a tournament after facing a match point, though Pennetta didn't come close to pressing her that hard.

Qualifier Alla Kudryavtseva nearly eliminated Safina in the third round before she won in a third-set tiebreaker. Safina followed that cliffhanger by bumping off Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-1, and Jelena Jankovic 7-6 (3), 6-1, to reach her fourth final in five tournaments.

"It happens like that sometime," Safina said. "One match, you pull it out somehow and you start the next day to play better. That's what happened. I was just playing better and better."

Safina wasn't as sharp in the final on a warm, breezy afternoon. But she said that considering how badly she wanted the title and how nervous she was, she "played a pretty good match."

Pennetta, who was playing in her first top-level final, said she "didn't serve very well" and "on the important points she [Safina] was playing so good, so aggressive, she didn't give me a lot of chances."

Top seeded Yung-Jan Chan and Chia-Jung Chuang of Taiwan won their seventh doubles title with a 2-6, 7-5 (10-4) victory over Eva Hrdinova and Vladimira Uhlirova of the Czech Republic.