Tennis-Smooth Safina powers to Los Angeles title

LOS ANGELES, July 27 Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:01am BST

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LOS ANGELES, July 27 (Reuters) - Dinara Safina won her first title on U.S. soil with a clinical 6-4 6-2 destruction of Flavia Pennetta in the Los Angeles Classic final on Sunday.

The powerful Russian completely dominated the Italian's serve, breaking her six successive times to claim her second title of the year.

"Today I wanted so baldy to win the final and before match I told my coach, 'I'm nervous, I really want to get this final'," fourth seed Safina told reporters.

Pennetta, who has equalled her career-high ranking of number 16, traded early blows with Safina but after she was broken to trail 5-3 she began to lose her way.

Safina, who upset world number two Jelena Jankovic in the semi-finals, clinched the first set when she forced Pennetta into a forehand error.

Safina broke Pennetta, the 10th seed, four times in the second set with a series of scorching winners.

"My serve wasn't working because she was very consistent and I was always nervous because I knew if I didn't make the first, with the second she was pushing the ball so hard," Pennetta said. French Open finalist Safina will rise to a career-high number eight when the world rankings are released on Monday.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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