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Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Saturday, 6 June 2009 15:40 UK

Safina v Kuznetsova as it happened


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By Piers Newbery

Text in your views on 81111
1541: "It would appear the 'taches are quite 'in'...I did wonder at the sheepskin hats too! Well done to kuz!"
From Rachel on bonnie Skye via text

1538: Oh dear, Safina's voice is wavering as she makes her speech, saying "Hopefully one day I can win here." It's all getting a bit much, so I will leave you for now but be sure to return on Sunday at 1400 BST to see if Roger Federer can make history, or Robin Soderling can cause another huge shock, in the men's final.

Someone is having a tantrum
1535: Well, that was hardly a classic and I for one feel as sorry for Safina - who smashed her racquet in anger after double faulting on match point - as I'm pleased for Kuznetsova, who really has the game to challenge more often for Grand Slams. The Russian national anthem belts out after Steffi Graf hands over the trophy to Kuznetsova.

Get involved on 606
1534: "Better player won, she's a nice girl too from her interviews...bad sign that Safina keeps looking at her coach, shows she's lacking in a bit of self reliance...not a classic but they rarely are...."
From Funk le Monk on 606

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1532: "Kuz really should be challenging that no. 1 spot with a forehand like that."
From anon via text

1530: "For Kuznetsova this has been a long time coming," says Sam Smith on the Red Button as Kuznetsova makes her way through the stands to celebrate with her supporters. A great result after a nerveless display in the final and she adds to her 2004 US Open. "It's been so many years and I thought sometimes it couldn't happen again," she says. "Dinara is still number one, so she's better than me, but today I was able to play better."


Safina 4-6 2-6 Kuznetsova
You have to feel a bit sorry for poor old Dinara, who appears to be biting her lip and holding back a few emotions after Kuznetsova plays a superb opening point to the game. The seventh seed plays a blistering forehand down the line for 30-30 and Safina then nets a backhand.... match point, and Safina double faults! Shocker.

Safina * 4-6 2-5 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova shows some impressive keepy-uppy skills at 40-30, provoking a few jeers from the crowd, and she serves out to move within a game of her second Grand Slam title. No significant response form Safina yet.

Safina 4-6 2-4 * Kuznetsova
Martina Navratoliva and Mansour Bahrami - doubtless cooking up some japes - look on as Safina falls to 15-40 and Kuznetsova breaks when the world number one his a forehand into the tramlines. Can Sveta hold her nerve and see this one out?

Safina * 4-6 2-3 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova makes an error to fall 0-30 down but Safina returns the favour and allows her opponent back to 40-30. Safina then fires a return winner for deuce but Kuznetsova plays the shot of the day so far as she swings a cross-court backhand right into the corner, and she takes the game with a service winner.

Safina 4-6 2-2 * Kuznetsova
Safina makes a woeful double fault, feathering her second serve about halfway up the net, and she does well to recover with four straight points.

Text in your views on 81111
1505: "Why is that guy wearing a sheepskin hat in paris?!?! Surely it's not that cold! Or he is adding a bit of a russian twang to the final?"
From Jasper, should be working, via text

Safina * 4-6 1-2 Kuznetsova
We get the first Safina outburst of the day when she misses a sitter of a forehand and proceeds to smack the loose ball into the net in anger. "Boo, hiss," say the locals. In French. Kuznetsova holds to 30 and she's looking fairly untroubled at the moment. A couple more games and the nerves will come into play, surely.

Safina 4-6 1-1 * Kuznetsova
"These are just gigantic forehands from Kuznetsova," says Sam Smith on BBC Two as Sveta clubs her way to 30-30, but a missed return and a forehand in the net hand Safina a vital hold.

Safina * 4-6 0-1 Kuznetsova
We need a new graphic, one man in the crowd has the most extraordinary moustache. I might grow one for Wimbledon. Safina is looking edgy, firing an early forehand well long and it will be a shame if she cannot find something approaching top form in another Grand Slam final. Kuznetsova is doing enough for now, serving solidly and holding to 30.
*denotes NEXT server


Safina 4-6 * Kuznetsova
Hello, un peu de variatie (don't bother, I know my French is rubbish). Safina plays a beauty of a drop shot and Kuznetsova chases it down and responds in kind, drawing loud applause. A Fernando Gonzalezesque forehand return brings Kuznetsova to 15-40 and two set points... and she takes the first with a fizzing wrong-footing backhand.

* Safina 4-5 Kuznetsova
I will be steering clear of predictions here after rashly suggesting on 606 that Safina might win in three. Kuznetsova serves for the set and promptly drops serve to love.

Get involved on 606
1446: "This will really hurt Dinara if she loses this chance for a Grand Slam. She looked pretty cut up after the US Open, but understood she wasn't confident or playing well...but after the claycourt season she's had and the work she's put in to do her no 1 status justice, this will be hard to take."
From pottiella on 606

Safina 3-5 Kuznetsova *
We get the first Parisian hand-clap of the day when Safina slips to 0-30 with a forehand into the net, and when the world number one repeats the error for 0-40 we get a few whistles too. A Kuznetsova mistake and a thumping Safina forehand cut the deficit, but Kuz gets a bit lucky with a net cord and breaks. She then raises her hand apologetically, which is nice.

* Safina 3-4 Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova comes through a solid service game and at least we're not in for the kind of one-sided final we have had to suffer in the past. Last year for example. As far as "the goss" goes, unfortunately Caroline Cheese is at a wedding today as she is the expert on these matters but I believe they actually like each other. I know....

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1437: "Piers. What's the goss on these 2? Do they like one another? Are they in the "anti Sharapova" gang together? Is there extra spice?"
From Phil, at work, via text

A celeb has been spotted
Safina 3-3 Kuznetsova *
The celebrity graphic gets an early run-out for the one and only Steffi Graf, who is huddled in the stands wearing a coat and a scarf. Meanwhile, Kuznetsova looks in good shape at 0-30 after a Safina double fault. We are treated to a punishing rally at 15-30 and it's the Kuznetsova backhand that breaks down, and Safina battles through for a big hold.

* Safina 2-3 Kuznetsova
An extravagant drop shot helps Kuznetsova to 40-15 but a double-fault and a forehand error take it to deuce. Safina then steps in and crunches a backhand return winner for break point.... but Kuznetsova does a great job of attacking the net and punching away a volley under pressure, and she holds.

Safina 2-2 Kuznetsova *
Safina holds from 15-30 with a couple of big serves. It's fair to say neither woman has really got going and it looks a bit parky as most of the crowd are well wrapped up.
*denotes NEXT server

* Safina 1-2 Kuznetsova
Is 'hoik' a verb? Probably not. Kuznetsova is the first to find a bit of form and a beautifully judged drop volley gets her to 30-0. She has Safina scurrying all over the place and seals a love game with a clinical off-forehand.

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1420: "I find it hard to believe this can be as exciting as yesterday's matches but i hope i'm proven wrong. Here's hoping the weather stays ok and doesn't rain on Safina's parade."
Andrew from Newcastle via text

Safina 1-1 Kuznetsova *
Well, we thought nerves might play a part and that appears to be the case. This time it's Safina who finds herself at 0-40 and the world number one hoiks a dreadful forehand over the baseline.

* Safina 1-0 Kuznetsova
Safina gets of to a flyer, moving to 0-40 and converting her second break point.
*denotes NEXT server

1411: The players are knocking up, and this is a big, big day for both women. Safina wants to finally get a Grand Slam title to back up her number one ranking and Kuznetsova wants to add to the US Open crown she won back in 2004. They have met 11 times, with Safina leading 7-4 and one win apiece on clay in the last couple of months.

Text in your views on 81111
1410: "Could today be the day when Safina stops being 'Marat's little sister? She wants it so much - Saf in 3!"
From Joanna, watching v. quietly in the library, via text on 81111

Get involved on 606
1407: "By the way: Safina will finally silence her critics and win her first major. And Federer will join her with his first French Open title!"
From tuogol on 606

It's raining
1405: The fly in the ointment both today and tomorrow could be the weather, which has turned nasty on us after a largely uninterrupted fortnight. The covers were across on Court Philippe Chatrier for much of the morning and conditions are described as "very, very heavy", but for now the rain is holding off. I'm told the forecast for Sunday is not good.

1401: Safina makes her way onto Court Philippe Chatrier, saying "I just want to go out there and show my best tennis." Kuznetsova follows, adding, "I just have expectations on myself and try to enjoy the final." So there you go.

1355: Afternoon all, I hope you've managed to come back down to earth after the drama of yesterday's men's semi-finals in time for today's women's final. I was forced to go and see the new Terminator film, which is appalling and not the ideal wind-down. However, it has set the bar extremely low in terms of my expectations of entertainment from Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova, and here's hoping the Russians can deliver a cracking final.

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