As the day unfolded, Singapore witnessed two exemplary matches from the White Group.
In the first, ranked number 8, the Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated the defending champion, Agnieszka Radwanska in a thrilling match that lasted for 2 hours and 48 minutes. Kuznetsova only secured her place in Singapore with victory in Saturday afternoon’s Moscow final and for the first 15 minutes she looked off the pace, quickly falling 4-1 behind; took the advantage of the slow courts of Singapore and her superior strength and physicality, and easily sailed through the first set. Recovering from the fatigue of playing a winning set on the tour finals, she eventually gave away the first set very easily to her Polish opponent, 6-1. She was emotionally exhausted to a higher extent today, being able to play the finals after a gap of 7 years, for the 6th time and exhibiting such class on court, aren’t very easy to handle.
She saved a match point against Radwanska after 5-5, who has a win-loss record of 51-16 this season.
Barely ready to surrender, she struck the ball with more conviction, Radwanska retreated into her shell, frittering away a match point at 5-4 with a nervous backhand into the net. A brilliant double-fisted backhand down the line brought the finishing line in sight and as the clock ticked towards the three-hour mark, Radwanska found the net to finally surrender.
“I mean, I don’t know. I know that I won last two matches in last month against Aga being match point down both matches, so it’s very hard to say.”
“I’m just trying my best when I play her. She’s really tough. She’s No.3 or 4 in the world, so, I mean, you better maybe ask her about it. I don’t know. I mean, we always have tough matches, but I guess somebody has to win and more times it’s for me.” explaining the hold she had over her Polish opponent.
Kuznetsova rose the head-to-head to 12-5. And she won 21, 3-setter matches this season, more than any player on tour. “Sometimes it’s not easy, and sometimes you’re pulling through. I put aside that I’m tired, put aside the emotions, the jet lag – I didn’t want to think about it”, she explained.
On the other hand, in the second match, the Czech lady, Karolina Pliskova defeated the Roland Gaross Champion, Garbiñe Muguruza in an enthralling fashion. It was more likely a see-saw encounter. Pliskova also saved a match point as Kuznetsova did. Pliskova’s W-L record for the season is 42-20, while Muguruza’s is 34-18.
Muguruza was 4-0 up in the decider, past 15 minutes of the set, when her opponent picked back up the game.From being down 0-4, she took 5 consecutive games and levelled the game, and was leading 5-4, Muguruza managed to take the 5th game as well. After 5-5, Muguruza again got broken on her serve as Pliskova emerged victorious in this intense match. She served 14 aces in the entire match.
“It was a really tough match today. I was too winning it in the 2nd set and then she came up with some great tennis, great shots so it was really difficult for me in the 3rd one, but she was playing really well so I still believed, I had a chance to win, all the games were pretty close. So I am really happy that I made it because this isn’t happening everyday.”
“It was definitely an important win tonight, I feel fine, I had some shots on this surface so I’m ready for the next match” said Pliskova, who is playing the Women’s Doubles as well in Singapore.
To Muguruza, this year has been much similar as 2008 was to Ana Ivanovic. One Grand Slam victory on the clay with another minor title, played a few significant matches and reaching the high ranking, and spending rest of the year not at the same standards.
Next matches lined up for the Red group:
(1) Angelique Kerber vs (3) Simona Halep
(7) DominikaCibulkova vs (6) Madison Keys