Dinara Safina (RUS) vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
If you just see the box score from Safina's win over Dominika Cibulkova you won't get the full story. Cibulkova played her extremely tough and really tested Safina's mental and physical strength. This is Safina's third Grand Slam final and her second consecutive appearance in the finals of the French Open. She is still looking for her first Grand Slam title, and this is without a doubt her best chance.
Kuznetsova needed three sets to get past Sam Stosur in the semifinals, and it was a great battle between the two of them. I want to congratulate Stosur on the fantastic run she had at the French and I think she can be a very good singles player moving forward. Kuznetsova has been to the finals of the French Open before (2006) and is looking for her second Grand Slam title (first was at the US Open in 2004).
Safina is 8-5 against Kuznetsova and they have played twice recently on clay this year. Safina won in the finals at Rome and then Kuznetsova beat her in the finals at Stuttgart. When you look at each of the girl's games, they are similar. They both have big serves, excellent groundstrokes, and are comfy on the clay. They both have Grand Slam experience and know how to win. The difference right now is that I feel Safina is just playing a little bit better in every aspect of the game.
In Kuznetsova's semifinal match against Stosur, when she lost the second set, you could see how emotionally and physically drained she was. She struggled moving on the court and it seemed like she may not be able to pull through. Well, she regrouped, got herself together, and was able to advance. I really like Stosur, but she is not Safina.
Right now, Safina is full of confidence and enthusiasm. She is mentally ready to take the next step in her career and she is in unbelievable physical shape. This match will not be easy for Safina, but whether it is two sets or three, I believe she will come out victorious and put a firm clamp on the #1 ranking!
Nick's Pick - Safina in 3 sets