Another fantastic performance from the former world number two and two-time Major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova came at the 2018 Citi Open as she successfully sealed her spot in the semifinals with the loss of just a mere 10 games in three matches. The Russian stormed past the dangerous Yulia Putintseva in the quarterfinals with a stunning 6-2, 6-2 scoreline, making her first semifinal appearance in any event since the 2017 Mutua Madrid Open.
Kuznetsova blasted 26 winners to just 13 unforced errors while Putintseva was extremely inconsistent off the ground, misfiring on 22 occasions and coming up with just 13 winners to end up on the losing end having won just four games in the process.
Kuznetsova recovers from an early deficit to take the first set
It was the best possible start anyone could have asked for Kuznetsova, who benefitted from Putintseva’s early nerves but also coming up with some solid counterpunching skills to grab the break in the opening game. Kuznetsova, who was the champion here in Washington D.C back in 2014, owns a formidable 8-0 win-loss record at this tournament as the Russian had not been defeated here yet. Putintseva looked to be the first player to do so, and it seemed that the fans were in for a thrilling contest as the Kazakh roared straight back, breaking immediately to get onto the scoreboard.
Putintseva started to find her footing and geared towards a 2-1 lead before earning multiple break points in the fourth game with golden opportunities to run away with the first set with the momentum running in her. However, Kuznetsova stepped up her game just at the crucial moments — hitting a big winner alongside an ace to save both break points. This was the turning point of the first set as the remainder of the set was relatively one-sided.
Affected by her inability to convert her chances, Putintseva put in a sloppy service game as Kuznetsova regained the lead with some world-class defensive skills, opening a 3-2 lead which she consolidated this time around with a comfortable service hold. After a two-hour rain delay, five consecutive games came and went, with the Russian claiming 15 of the last 17 points to take the first set 6-2. It was a terrific first set from the former world number two, firing 10 winners to just six errors as she stormed to take the opening set after 41 minutes of play.
Kuznetsova rattles off the win
The second set was much closer and competitive with both players putting up an excellent show for the fans. This time, Putintseva was able to stay in touch with the Russian and put up a tough resistance, keeping the scores close and tight. However, before either of them could produce a breakthrough, the rain had its party yet again which concluded play for the rest of the night.
Upon the resumption of play at noon on the second day of action, Putintseva won the opening two points before Kuznetsova came out of nowhere to storm back and earn the first break of the set, opening up a commanding lead.
The second set was extremely similar to the first, and it ended in a one-sided fashion as Putintseva went game-less on the second day of play. Kuznetsova came from 40-0 down to earn an insurance break in the seventh game, grabbing the golden opportunity to serve out the match as well. Despite some late wobbles, the Russian impressively sealed the straightforward 6-2, 6-2 win after an hour and 24-minutes of play.