sport

Kuznetsova ends title drought

Svetlana Kuznetsova ended her four-year WTA tour drought by beating Kurumi Nara 6-3 4-6 6-4 to claim the Citi Open title in Washington DC on Sunday.

The Russian has suffered an injury-plagued few years since winning her 13th title in San Diego in 2010 but reached the final in Oeiras earlier this season and looked fine as she broke her opponent three times in a topsy-turvy first set.

She was broken twice as she surrendered the second but needed just a single break of serve to win the third and claim the match in two hours 16 minutes.

Two-time major champion Kuznetsova, whose collection includes trophies from the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open, admits she was relieved to rediscover the winning feeling.

\"It feels like it's been too long,\" the 29-year-old said.

"I work very hard every day, trying to improve things. After you win Slams, not winning tournaments, it's really hard."

With the scores locked at four-all in the final set and Kuznetsova serving, they played the longest game of the match, with 16 points, five deuces and one break point.

"I got a little bit paralyzed and was getting tight, and I'm happy I overcame this feeling today," Kuznetsova revealed. "But definitely, didn't play my best tennis in the end of the second and third set."

Still, Kuznetsova eventually held to lead 5-4, then broke Nara in the next game to end it.

Kuznetsova, who was seeded sixth and ranked 26th, had never played in Washington's hard-court warm-up event for the US Open but walked away with silverware and momentum ahead of the final Grand Slam of the season.