Svetlana Kuznetsova clenched the final spot for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global after a straightforward victory against Daria Gavrilova in the Kremlin Cup.
The Russian powerhouse's last WTA Finals appearance was seven seasons ago (2009), but this time around she's feeling the energy. "I'm playing my best tennis for like five seasons, and it shows because now I'm in Singapore," she said after her win in Moscow. "I'm really pleased with the win and making it to the Finals again after such a long time."
Kuznetsova will be the first to admit that her journey has not been easy. When asked how she defended her title, she responded, "I don't know. I fought in every match. I tried to win. I had very tough matches because I didn't [feel] comfortable with the tennis I played." She added, "But I understood I could win even with bad tennis. I leveled up my tennis."
This level-up didn't come in physical form either. The 31-year-old defending champ improved her psychological state. She's thinking more, playing more stable. She said, "I used to think: What do I have to do to achieve this or that?And I understand that 'that' level is already in the past. Every day I am working to get on a different level."
The next level starts in Singapore and the 17-time title winner finds peace with herself for making it this far. "I didn't even think I'd get there. I just wanted to play my tennis." she says "And whatever happens. It's a bonus."
Kuznetsova plays her first match in Singapore against Agnieszka Radwa?ska at 7:30 p.m. on Monday. "It will be a tough match" Kuznetsova says. "I don't expect anything else."