Tokyo: World number two Caroline Wozniacki saw off Elena Dementieva in a tough battle to win the Pan Pacific Open women’s tennis tournament on Saturday.
The Danish top seed, who crashed out in her opening matches in her previous two visits to Tokyo, made it third time lucky with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over the Beijing Olympic gold medallist from Russia.
“I knew it’s going to be a tough match. We always have tough matches, but right now I’m just so happy, I won another tournament, my 11th, so I’m really happy to be in Japan,” said Wozniacki.
Seventh seed Dementieva got off to a flying start, racing to a 4-0 first set lead with an array of winners from the baseline.
By contrast Wozniacki failed to hit a single winner from the baseline and had to wait until Dementieva mishit a shot in the fifth game to hold for 1-4.
Wozniacki saved two set points in the fifth game before double faulting to lose the set.
After missing a couple of break points in the first game of the second set, Wozniacki took a 2-1 lead when Dementieva hit a backhand into the net and went on to win the set.
After an exchange of breaks in the final set, Wozniacki added another in the seventh game to move up 4-3 as a Dementieva forehand hit the net.
The error seemed to hit Dementieva hard, and the two-hour match came to an abrupt end when the Russian double faulted twice in a row on matchpoint
“In the first set I didn’t get the ball in a way I wanted. But in the second set, I stepped up a little bit, and we had two close sets, and I’m happy that I’m standing here as the winner,” Wozniacki said.
“I won the important points and I just kept fighting. I’m happy that I won the last point.”
It was her fifth title of the season, following triumphs at Ponte Vedra Beach, Copenhagen, Montreal and New Haven, and 11th overall and earned her the top prize of 350,000 dollars.
Wozniacki, who avenged her defeat by Dementieva in the 2008 Olympics round of 16, also took the lead in the pair’s head-to-head record. She now has four wins and three defeats against the Russian.
The 20-year-old Dane, who could take the world number one spot next week at the China Open, eliminated her good friends Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on her way to the final.
For Dementieva, the 2006 champion here who had to be satisfied with the 175,000-dollar runner-up prize, it was the fourth final this season, two of them -- at Sydney and Paris Indoor -- victorious.