An excellent week's work for Caroline Wozniacki ended in perfect fashion as the 20-year-old Dane secured her first title of the year here yesterday.
Having already made certain that she would reclaim the world No 1 ranking from Kim Clijsters in today's updated list, Wozniacki won the Dubai Duty Free Championships for the first time with a crushing 6-1, 6-3 victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.
Wozniacki, who did not drop a set all week, was far too good for her 25-year-old opponent. Striking the ball consistently well from the baseline, she kept Kuznetsova under pressure throughout the 75-minute match. Wozniacki may not have the power of many of her rivals, but nobody in the modern game covers the court as well or retrieves as many balls.
Kuznetsova, losing in the final here for the third time, had the greater weight of shot, but was let down by a constant flow of errors.
"I felt really good out there," Wozniacki said afterwards. "I felt like I was hitting the ball well and I could really stay aggressive. I knew I had to, because if Svetlana is allowed to dictate, she's just too strong. It was very important to keep her moving and stay pretty close to the baselines."
It has been a remarkable last six months for Wozniacki. Of the last nine tournaments she has played she has won five, finished runner-up in the end-of-season WTA Championships and reached two Grand Slam semi-finals. The only tournament where she failed to make any impact was in her opening event of this year in Sydney.
Wozniacki took the first set in 29 minutes and it was not until the fourth game of the second set that Kuznetsova held serve. The Russian finally made a contest of it in the last two games. Kuznetsova saved two match points as Wozniacki failed to serve out at 5-2 and won the best point of the match in the next game with a winning forehand pass.
However, the match ended two points later in fitting fashion as Kuznetsova put a forehand long. "She played a basic game and didn't have to do much," said a rueful Kuznetsova. "I was just making so many unforced errors."