MOSCOW, Russia - For the sixth time in her career Svetlana Kuznetsova has qualified for the WTA Finals, punching her ticket to Singapore on the last possible day of the season.
Kuznetsova entered this week's Kremlin Cup in Moscow knowing that anything other than the title would leave her agonizingly short of a place at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. While the other seven qualified players were participating in Saturday's All-Access Hour, 5,000 miles away Kuznetsova was successfully defending her Moscow title with victory over Daria Gavrilova.
The result concludes a thrilling battle for the final qualifying spot, the 31-year-old Russian piping Johanna Konta at the final post. This will be Kuznetsova's sixth time WTA Finals appearance in singles (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009). Previously, she has never advanced beyond the round robin stage, posting a 3-12 match record. She also qualified for the year-end event in doubles twice: 2003 (with Martina Navratilova) and 2004 (with Elena Likhovtseva).
Kuznetsova has enjoyed a resurgence in 2016, titles in Moscow and Sydney pushing her career total to 17. Deep runs at several of the tour's other prestigious stop-offs - including Miami where she defeated Serena Williams en route to the final - was her win 43 matches; this is the first season she has registered more than 40 wins since 2009, which also was her last WTA Finals appearance.
Kuznetsova will now make her way to Singapore where she will play her first match on Monday against Agnieszka Radwanska at 7:30pm.
As part of the White Group, Kuznetsova will also face Karolina Pliskova and Garbiñe Muguruza in the round-robin stage. She owns a 13-5 record against the rest of the White Group, including a 12-4 advantage in the head-to-head against Radwanska.