Confident Kuznetsova focusing on further improvements

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MADRID, Nov 4 (Reuters) Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova believes she can improve despite achieving a career-best world number two ranking as she prepares for her third season-ending WTA Championships next week.

The 22-year-old has been one of the most consistent players on the tour this year but is conscious that she has won only one title, in New Haven, and lost in five other finals.

''This is something I have to work on. I have beaten some great players but when I am in a final I have to switch it on and be more focused, more decisive in key moments,'' Kuznetsova told a news conference today.

''This is what will make the difference if I want to move to another level. There is definitely something mental there but every final is different. Some finals I lost to (world number one) Justine Henin which isn't an upset loss but others were and so this is something I have to work on.'' Kuznetsova explained she had spent a lot of time working on the psychological aspect of her game.

''It's the first time I have been number two and it's a great achievement but I definitely want to keep growing and developing my game and rankings. This year I have been more consistent. I feel more confident on the court and with what I am doing with my life,'' she added.

''I am making big changes with myself, getting to know myself better. I have a better attitude on the court. I am focused more on what I want and on my future.'' The Russian's last two appearances in the Championships, in 2004 and 2006, both ended with exits in the round-robin stage, but she felt the outcome would be different this year.

''I much better prepared now for the tournament. I feel much fresher than in the previous years and I am a much better player,'' she said.

Play gets underway in Madrid on Tuesday with Kuznetsova in the same group as Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova and Daniela Hantuchova.

REUTERS NY RK2248

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