And the 31-year old Kuznetsova stuns everyone yet again with her enthralling comeback! The workaholic Russian defeated Karolina Pliskova by 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(6).
Again, a 3-setter, she dominated expressively. Year to date, she has played 30, 3-setter matches, this match being the 30th, tied with her coach Anastasia Myskina and Ai Sugiyama for most three-setters won in a single season, Kuznetsova is one away from tying Petra Kvitova’s all-time record of 23, but she’ll likely be hoping for an easier match as she aims to make it out of her round robin group as fresh as possible.
“Svetlana Kuznetsova, playing in her first 1st #WTAFinals since 2009, advances to the semi-finals for the 1st time in her career.”, WTA tweeted.
The two-time Grand Slam champion is now on a six-match winning streak, and four of her last five matches have gone a long distance.”I was kind of feeling sorry for myself,” she said of her mindset at the start of the match. “That’s what you cannot accept, being a tennis player. It doesn’t matter what situation you been through, you cannot feel sorry for yourself: ‘I’m sore. It’s not working.”
“I told myself to shut it down and move on and try to do what Carlos came to me and said. I focused on the point and I made the break. Then I saw doubts in her. Then I felt I was doing much better. Then we were even.”
In the first set, Pliskova managed some very clean groundstrokes and near-the-net points, and eventually took the lead. While in the second, Kuznetsova bounced back, allowing her Czech opponent only 2 games to hold.Pliskova ended the set as she netted a forehand.
In the third, after a long rally of 22 shots between the two, the grunting Russian (of course less than Maria Sharapova) hit a tweener on the 23rd shot, though unsuccessful, but was a wonderful try from her. When the set stood at 4-3(40-30) with Svetlana in the lead, Pliskova played a brilliant lob shot, which Svetlana couldn’t have thought of returning. After playing some deuces, Pliskova levelled it at 4-4. The subsequent 4 games were taken by the players as their service games. The fierce play, from both the opponents eventually allowed the tie-break to go beyond the 7 mark.
“I took off the speed a little bit and was trying to not play as many second serves. She was pushing me from the second serve, but still it wasn’t working.”I felt a little bit in my shoulder, so that’s maybe why the first serve was not that fast and not that good. Even when I put the first serve in, she was returning quite long, deep balls from the first serve. Maybe that’s why I was missing more than on the other matches.”, as the Czech explained her statement from the previous match of having a good first service.
“I play with my heart. I always did. It’s not like I just remembered I have a heart right now and before I just left it home. It’s not like that.””It’s the last matches of the year, and my year is quite good comparing my last five seasons, and especially since it’s my first time in my career winning two matches [at the WTA Finals]. It’s like miracle, you know, because normally I was like, ‘Jesus, round robin again.”
“But here I said, Okay, I’ll take it match by match. I’m old enough to separate things. Yeah, I don’t know. Everything is going well.”
Seeded number 2, Agnieszka Radwanska defeated the French Open champion, Garbiñe Muguruza. Both of them being the 2015 semi-finalists, they had not faced each other the year around. Muguruza was leading the head-to-head, 4-3, which Agnieszka has levelled today. Since Radwanska and Kuznetsova, both have won today, Muguruza stands eliminated now, having won no matches in the round robin.In the first set, Muguruza got broken in the second service game itself but she further broke back. As the set stood at 5-5, Radwanska paved an early game by 40-0 and converted the 5 into a 6. Subsequently, Muguruza lost the tie-break, getting only one point, committing 24 errors overall to her opponent’s 9.
In the beginning of the second set, Muguruza got an early break and was leading 2-0, when Radwanska broke back, making it 2-1. Garbiñe again held the game, took it up to 3-2. This was the last point where she was leading; subsequently, the next 4 games were taken by Agnieszka which awarded her the match clearly. Now, the winner of the Radwanska-Pliskova match will qualify in the second position. The loser is out, as Svetlana has already qualified.
Angelique Kerber & Svetlana Kuznetsova, both have won the two matches they’ve played. Agnieszka Radwanska, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Madison Keys, have won one out of the two played. Garbiñe Muguruza and Dominika Cibulkova have won none.