MOSCOW: Svetlana Kuznetsova beat fatigue to retain her Kremlin Cup title on Saturday with a straight-sets win over Daria Gavrilova and claim the last spot in the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore.
Russia’s two-time Grand Slam title winner, ranked ninth in the world but the top seed in Moscow, won 6-2, 6-1 in one hour, 11 minutes to record her third victory over the 22-year-old Australian in as many meetings.
“I felt worn out ahead of the start and had no idea of how I would play today,” Kuznetsova, 31, said.
“Luckily, my desire to play prevailed and I managed to overcome the tiredness. I really wanted to show my best tennis here and I’m happy that everything worked well.”
With her Kremlin Cup win Kuznetsova leap-frogged Johanna Konta of Britain to take the last spot in next week’s WTA Finals.
Moscow-born Gavrilova, who was playing in her first WTA tour final, started in lively fashion, breaking early for a 2-0 lead, but Kuznetsova broke back on three occasions to take the opening set in 43 minutes.
In the second Kuznetsova underlined her supremacy on the hard court of Moscow’s Olympic indoor stadium, claiming the set and the match after three more breaks of serve.
“I played twice a day since Tuesday and was almost exhausted by today,” said Gavrilova, who became an Australian only citizen last year.
“I have always loved playing here. It’s been a very special tournament for me since my childhood, when I came here to watch the matches after tennis practice. And I’m really happy that I played my first career final in Moscow.”
In the men’s section Fabio Fognini largely cruised into the final, beating third-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-1, 7-6 (7/2).
The Italian will on Sunday face the sixth-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who saw off the French 36-year-old veteran Stephane Robert 6-3, 7-6 (7/2).