trophy watch: kuznetsova clears her head (and her mantle) for a second slam title

Pretty in pink: Svetlana Kuznetsova remained subdued on Court Philippe Chatrier after Dinara Safina double-faulted and handed her the 2009 French Open singles title. It wasn’t worth it for Sveta to rub the lopsided 6-4, 6-2 match in the face of her friend, who currently holds the world No. 1 ranking.

Apart from playing a worthy opponent — Kuznetsova gave her her only loss in 21 matches from Stuttgart through the French — Safina was also battling the pressure of the top spot and her nerves. “I was a little bit desperate on the court,” said Safina, who appeared to be fighting tears late in the 74-minute match and during the on-court trophy presentation.

During Sveta’s speech, she made sure to thank her former posse in Barcelona, who’ve since been replaced by a Moscow-based team headed by coach Larisa Savchenko. And in her post-match interview with Mary Carillo, she talked (like a seasoned veteran) about how a newfound outlook on her life has made her a better player. It has pretty much taken her five years to turn this around, and it has carried her to this, her second slam title. The biggest test of this new Kuznetsova is whether she can take this momentum into New York and win a second U.S. Open title.

Bonus round: Six-time French Open singles title winner Steffi Graf was on hand to present Sveta and Safina with their wares.

(images via Getty Images)