2016 WTA Finals player profile: Svetlana Kuznetsova

The Russian is the final player to make the tournament after her last minute qualification on Saturday.

2016 WTA Finals player profile: Svetlana Kuznetsova
Svetlana Kuznetsova during her pre-tournament press conference (Getty/Julian Finney)

Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova will be making her sixth WTA Finals appearance, and her first since 2009, after her extremely solid season.

The Russian secured her place at the season-ending showpiece by winning the Kremlin Cup this week and will be looking to use her recent momentum to make it out of the group stage of the event for the first time in her career.

Season highlights

After a few years as a solid top 30 player, Kuznetsova hit some of the heights that saw her reach four Grand Slam finals and get to world number two this season as she made her way back up the rankings.

As well as beating the likes of Elina Svitolina and Daria Gavrilova on her way to the title in Moscow this past week, the Russian also won the title in Sydney at the beginning of the season, beating the likes of Simona Halep and Monica Puig to take the title. Kuznetsova also made the final in Miami, losing to Victoria Azarenka after beating the likes of Serena Williams, Halep, and Timea Bacsinszky on her way to the final.

Svetlana Kuznetsova after taking the title in Sydney back in January (Corbis Sport/Steve Christo)
Svetlana Kuznetsova after taking the title in Sydney back in January (Corbis Sport/Steve Christo)

There have been several other strong results for Kuznetsova as well. She made the fourth round of both the French Open and Wimbledon, losing to eventual champions Garbine Muguruza and Serena Williams, and made the semifinal in Wuhan, saving a match point to beat Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals. Furthermore, she also made the quarterfinals in Rome, Montreal, and Cincinnati.

WTA Finals History

Kuznetsova has impressively qualified for arguably the most prestigious event of the year on five previous occasions (2004, 2006-2009), though has never made it out of the group stages.

In 15 previous matches at the WTA Finals, the Russian has won just three group stage matches; against Elena Dementieva in 2009 and 2006, and against Vera Zvonareva in 2004.

Her Group

The Russian is in the White Group at this year’s event, alongside Agnieszka Radwanska, Karolina Pliskova, and Garbiñe Muguruza.

Despite being an extremely difficult person to play against, Radwanska has only beaten Kuznetsova four times in their previous 16 meetings, suggesting the Russian could go into that match as the slight favorite; Kuznetsova herself will surely fancy her chances if she plays well.

Agnieszka Radwanska and Svetlana Kuznetsova after the Carlsbad final in 2010 (Getty/Stephen Dunn)
Agnieszka Radwanska and Svetlana Kuznetsova after the Carlsbad final in 2010 (Getty/Stephen Dunn)

However, the Russian lost to Pliskova in their only previous meeting in Cincinnati this year, which could mean that the Czech star will have some confidence coming into that clash.

Furthermore, as previously mentioned, Kuznetsova lost her match against Muguruza in straight sets at the French Open; however, she won their first meeting in three sets, so both players will fancy their chances heading into that.