- Associated Press - Sunday, February 20, 2011

DUBAI, United Arab EmiratesCaroline Wozniacki earned her first singles title of 2011, beating an error-prone Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-1, 6-3 in the Dubai Championships final Sunday.

The Dane, who will retake the No. 1 ranking from Kim Clijsters on Monday, was never seriously threatened by the 23rd-ranked Kuznetsova. The Russian still moves up to 11th in the rankings.

Wozniacki, who didn’t drop a set during the week on her way to winning her 13th career title, showed off a more aggressive style that included repeated forays to the net in the first set that helped her race to a 2-0 lead. She closed out the set by winning the final four games as Kuznetsova was hurt by missed volleys and erratic shots sent long and wide.

“I definitely went for my shots,” Wozniacki said on court after her victory. “It’s paying off now. I’m definitely playing better than I have been before.”

Wozniacki again took the initiative in the second set, going up 3-1.

“I felt really good out there today,” Wozniacki said. “I felt like I was hitting the ball well, clean, and I could really stay aggressive today. I knew I had to because if Svetlana is allowed to stay and dictate, she’s just too strong.”

Kuznetsova, who came back from a set down to beat French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and Tsvetana Pronkova on her way to the final, conceded she didn’t have her best game Sunday.

“I just didn’t play well. I did too many unforced errors,” Kuznetsova said. “She played a basic game and didn’t have to do much. I was just making so many unforced errors.”

Kuznetsova said it was difficult to come back against Wozniacki, who is considered one of the best defensive players on the tour.

“I think I force too much. This is because she defends well I force too much,” Kuznetsova said. “I mean, for me, it’s very frustrating because I don’t play my good game. If I would play my good game and I lose, OK. You know, it’s like she played better than me. She does well. She plays a stable game and she wins. But I cannot tell you that she overpowered me or she overran me.”

Wozniacki, who lost in the Australian Open semifinals to China’s Li Na, will stay at No. 1 at least through March 20.

“I like winning, so of course it’s important. It’s important for me to win,” she said. “I hate to lose. For me to stand here as the winner of the tournament, it’s a great feeling. I have the confidence. I know I’m playing well. The hard training is paying off. So I’m really pleased.”

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