Kuznetsova thrashes Puig to take Sydney title


Svetlana Kuznetsova outclassed Monica Puig to win the Sydney International on Friday after beating top seed Simona Halep in the semi-final stage earlier in the day.

Kuznetsova and Halep were on serve with the world number two 5-4 up in the first set when play was suspended on Thursday due to rain.

It was the unseeded Kuznetsova who prevailed at the expense of the tournament favourite, who was beaten 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-3 to miss out on a place in the final.

Puerto Rican outsider Puig led Belinda Bencic 4-0 overnight and wasted no time in wrapping up the opening set 6-0 before the Swiss retired due to illness.

Puig was unable to add to the solitary tour title she won in Strasbourg back in May 2014, though, as the experienced Kuznetsova triumphed 6-0 6-2 in a one-sided final.

Two-time grand-slam champion Kuznetsova had never won the Sydney International title, but emphatically claimed her 16th tour crown with an impressive display ahead of the Australian Open - which starts on Sunday.

Russian Kuznetsova sent down eight aces and won 88 per cent of points on her serve to Puig's 50 per cent, with the world number 94 only able to earn one break point and unable to take that opportunity.

Puig was beaten in just 55 minutes, with Kuznetsova wrapping up the first set in a flash and not allowing her younger opponent to get on the board until the 10th game as she eased to yet another tournament victory.