Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova has reached the No. 2 world ranking, and collected two slam titles at the U.S. and French opens. Coming into this week the veteran was told she needed to win the Kremlin Cup in her home country to qualify for the year-end WTA Finals, and she responded.
Kuznetsova qualified for her sixth year-end championships on Saturday by beating Aussie Daria Gavrilova 6-2, 6-1 in the final.
“Before the match, when I was warming up, my body hurt,” Kuznetsova said. “I felt tired, didn’t really know how I was going to play. I concentrated and thought that I had to be over it. I had the energy and the desire to play.”
Prior to the final Kuznetsova was physically tested by three-set wins over Timea Babos and Elina Svitolina in the semifinals.
“I fought in every match. I tried to win,” she said. “I had very tough matches because I didn’t felt comfortable with the tennis I played. But I understood I could win even with bad tennis. I leveled-up my tennis.”
Gavrilova, who also played a lot of tennis during the week in reaching the doubles final, appeared to run out of gas after the first set.
Kuznetsona has now qualified for the year-end championships in 2004, ’06-09, and ends a seven-year drought in 2016. She has never advanced past the round robin stage at the WTA Finals.
Moscow was her second title of the year after Sydney in January. She improves to 2-1 in finals in 2016, and 2-0 career in Moscow finals, rising to 17-22 in career finals.
Gavrilova was looking for her first career title in her first final. Her previous best result this year was a semifinal in her previous tournament to Moscow at Hong Kong.
Kuznetsova at the WTA Finals in Singapore will play her first match on Monday against Agnieszka Radwanska. In her round robin grouping she will also during the week face US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova and fellow former world No. 2 Garbine Muguruza.
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