claimed her fourth WTA title of 2008 on Sunday, defeating countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-3 in a match that lasted 1 1/4 hours in the Pan Pacific tournament in Tokyo.
"I've played the best tennis this week I've ever played,"
Safina said. "It's always nice to move up in the rankings and hopefully I can keep improving."
"I knew I had to keep the pressure on her from the start,"
said Safina, who had seven aces. "She is a good player and can put pressure on you so it was important for me to take my chances early."
Kuznetsova, a former U.S. Open champion, was bidding for her first title in 2008.
"It's disappointing but I'll try to be honest and positive,"
Kuznetsova said. "I came here after the clay court Fed Cup and really didn't expect to get to the final so this isn't a bad result for me."
After this win, Safina moved to number 3 on WTA Sony Ericsson ranking list.
beat Peng Shuai 6-7 (4-7), 6-0, 6-2 in Sunday's final at the Guangzhou International Women's Open at Guangzhou, China.
"I wasn't going for my shots enough in the first set,"
she said. "I think I was playing a bit too passively. She's a very good player and fights well, but I had more experience and was able to turn the match around."
(source The Canadian Press, TSN, photo/TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images, AFP/AFP/Getty Images)