SINGAPORE - Garbiñe Muguruza ended her 2016 season on a positive note with a 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 win over BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global semifinalist Svetlana Kuznetsova, wrapping up round robin play with a 1-2 record.
"Going into this match was extremely hard for me," she said in her post-match press conference. "Minutes before the match I was like, This is going to be is difficult one for me.
"At the end it was about my desire of wanting to be here and competing against the best. It became a challenge for me today to see how I was going to react.
"I'm very happy of the way I played today, the way I handled the match."
Muguruza had torn through this tournament on her 2015 debut, winning all three round robin matches en route to the semifinals. A tough loss to Karolina Pliskova - in which she held a match point - set her back to start this week, and a straight-set loss to defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska had effectively ended her hopes of returning to the final four.
"You have no options to qualify, so it's like, you know, she's already qualified; I'm not going to qualify. It's a weird situation.
"At the end I'm playing to secure my ranking spot, to, you know, win against these opponents also.
"So it was just tough to change the page and have a clean mind to go through this situation."
Playing for pride, Muguruza maintained her aggressive mindset against Kuznetsova, who advanced into the semifinals on Wednesday at the top of the White Group. The Spaniard recovered from a set down to end Kuznetsova's six match winning streak dating back to her Kremlin Cup title, and prevent the Russian from winning her 600th career WTA match.
An emotional Muguruza hit 31 winners to 32 unforced errors, keeping her side of the stat sheet clean as she lost just won game in the final two sets of the match.
"For sure a victory like today is going to keep me a little bit happier. It was a very tough tournament. I had a match point in my first match, then the second match was tough, but I felt I got my opportunities.
"Well, was too late, but I still did it."
Despite the loss, Kuznetsova moves on into the semifinals to face Dominika Cibulkova in a rematch of their Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open semi three weeks ago (Cibulkova won in three sets). Muguruza ends her career-best season looking to build on her first Grand Slam title at the French Open, where she beat then-No.1 Serena Williams to peak at No.2 in the world.
This article was first seen on www.wtatennis.com.