San Diego: Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova squndered four match points before outlasting Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-7 (7/9), 6-3 to win the WTA San Diego Open.
"This just made me stronger. It didn`t kill me," Kuznetsova said. "I didn`t kill myself in the third set."
Kuznetsova captured her 13th career title at the 700,000-dollar hardcourt event, a tuneup for the US Open, and it was the first crown for the 21st-ranked veteran since she beat Radwanska in the Beijing final last October.
The two-time Grand Slam champion botched four match points in the second-set tie-breaker after squandering leads of 4-0 and 6-3, double-faulting twice on match point to open the door for 10th-ranked Radwanska to force a third set.
"I think I did choke for the very first time in my life," Kuznetsova said. "I never had this choke before. I don`t know why it happened. Here I couldn`t make a ball. My knees were shaking."
It was the first final for both players since 10 months ago in China.
Kuznetsova, who won three titles in 2009, will jump back into the WTA`s top 20 with the title after reaching only one prior quarter-final this year. She had not tumbled outside the top 20 since February of 2004.
Radwanska will advance to ninth but that was little consolation.
"It`s always disappointing when it`s a long, very tough match," Radwanska said. "I think it`s much easier to lose 6-1, 6-1 and have no chance. But if it`s a match like this, it hurts."