By Ros Satar, in Singapore
- Svetlana Kuznetsova snapped up the final WTA Finals Singapore spot
- Kuznetsova defended her title for the second time, defeating Daria Gavrilova 6-2 6-1
- Johanna Konta will remain in Singapore as an alternate and will finish 2016 at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, China next week.
SINGAPORE – British No. 1 Johanna Konta was agonisingly pipped to the final WTA Finals berth by Svetlana Kuznetsova, who bagged the last spot by winning the Kremlin Cup in Moscow on Saturday.
Kuznetsova started slowly against Daria Gavrilova, who broke the Russian in her first service game to open up a 2-0 lead but that was her only moment of triumph as Kuznetsova went on a tear winning the next six games to take the first set, and winning ten on the spin in total.
The Aussie, in her first tour level final managed to salvage one game before being broken for the match. The Aussie had also team up with Russian Daria Kasatkina to reach the doubles final, so fatigue was a factor once Kuznetsova hit her groove.
As reported in WTATennis.com, Kuznetsova told reporters in Russia that it has been a monumental effort to take to the court, having weathered two three-setters against Timea Babos and Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.
She said: “Before the match, when I was warming up, my body hurt. I felt tired, didn’t really know how I was going to play. I concentrated and thought that I had to be over it. Before the match I had the energy and the desire to play. I wanted to show good tennis and I am happy I succeeded.”
Kuznetsova will make her return to the season-ending finale, having last reached the Finals in 2009, and will start her campaign on Monday against Agnieszka Radwanska.
For Konta, it will be the end of an agonising wait to see if she had qualified as the preparations got underway for the WTA Finals at the end of this week. The draw was on Friday, where she accompanied the seven players who had qualified, and received the WTA Award for the Most Improved Player.
She can remain in Singapore as an alternate, and will play if any of the finalists drop out, and plans to close out her season at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, open for the players ranked nine to 20 at the end of the year.
Konta reached the semi=final of a Grand Slam for the first time at the Australian Open, before becoming the first woman since Jo Durie in 1984 to crack the Top 10.
The WTA Finals takes place between 23-30 October.
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