posted on Jun, 20 2004 @ 05:37 AM
Svetlana Kuznetsova produced an impressive comeback to win the Hastings Direct International at Eastbourne.
The Russian beat Slovakian wild card Daniela Hantuchova 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in the final on Saturday.
Hantuchova blasted the second seed away in the first set but saw victory slip from her fingers in the second.
Kuznetsova moved level after clinching the tie-break and then broke her opponent in the 10th game of the final set to take the title.
Kuznetsova's title win was the third by a Russian woman in as many weeks.
Anastasia Myskina won the French Open and Maria Sharapova won last week's grass-court tournament in Birmingham.
"I think it's great for Russians,"
"But I just can't get into the match at the start, and Daniela was playing so well in the first set."
"I just tried to stay in the second set. It was very close and a game of nerves,"
"Finally I managed to put my first serve in and I did well."
The 18-year-old captured her two previous titles at Helsinki and Bali in 2002. She reached the finals at Dubai, Doha and Warsaw this year.
Hantuchova remained positive despite the defeat and believes she is on the way back to her best after a difficult year.
"This week has been a turning point,"
said the 21-year-old. "I got some wins for confidence, I cannot ask for a better Wimbledon
"I've always believed in myself, even in the difficult times."
"I've had great support from the people around me and I've kept working hard. I'm almost back where I want to be."