The WTA Elite Trophy released its player field on their official Twitter page last week, but there was a notable absentee from the tournament as world number 11 and two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova has announced her withdrawal from the second-tier year-end Championships.
Season thus far
After a lackluster year which saw Kuznetsova fail to back up her results from 2016, she fell out of the top-10 recently as her semifinal points from the 2016 WTA Finals dropped off. Despite not winning any titles, the Russian was able to keep her place in the top-15 with her current ranking being 11.
Some highlights of Kuznetsova’s season include a quarterfinal run at the Brisbane International and her fourth-round appearances in Melbourne and Paris. It was, in fact, a year of consistent results for the Russian as she reached seven quarterfinals and only had three opening-round exits (two of which are because of injuries). She also had a slight resurgence on grass, making the last eight in Eastbourne while producing a surprise run to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon for the first time since 2007.
However, Kuznetsova’s best results of the year certainly came in the Premier Mandatory events at Indian Wells and Madrid. She had an unexpected run to the final at the BNP Paribas Open, defeating then-world number three Karolina Pliskova along the way before losing to compatriot Elena Vesnina in a three-hour final. The veteran’s best result on clay this year came at the Mutua Madrid Open, saving a match point to reach the semifinals where she lost to an in-form Kristina Mladenovic.
At the US Open, where Kuznetsova had the golden opportunity to progress deep in the draw and rise in the Porsche Race to Singapore leaderboard, she, unfortunately, sustained a left-wrist injury in her tough first-round win over teenage sensation Marketa Vondrousova. This caused her to go on a three-match losing streak, losing to Kurumi Nara, Alize Cornet, and Lara Arruabarrena consecutively.
She was also forced to withdraw from her home tournament, the Kremlin Cup, due to the same injury. According to reports, the doctor has said that the Russian needs to rest to prevent aggravating the injury.
The WTA Elite Trophy would kick off tomorrow afternoon, with the opening ceremony being held in the stadium at 3 pm local time while Coco Vandeweghe and local favorite Peng Shuai will start play 30 minutes later. Other withdrawals include Johanna Konta and Madison Keys.