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Kuznetsova enters final

Other Sports
Fri, 01 Apr 2016

Miami: Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced to the final of the ATP and WTA Miami Open yesterday by defeating Swiss 19th seed Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-3.

The 30-year-old Russian, who captured the Miami crown a decade ago, denied Bacsinszky on 12-of-14 break point chances, including three in the final game.

“I enjoyed the fight and I’m happy I’m still able to play against the best in the world,” Kuznetsova said. “I was praying to finish it in two sets so I would have a little more time to rest.”

Kuznetsova will play for the title again tomorrow against the winner of a later match between Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber of Germany and former world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

Kuznetsova, who ousted top-ranked Serena Williams in the fourth round, has split eight career matches against Azarenka and owns a 4-3 edge on Kerber in their rivalry.

The men’s quarter-finals conclude later as well with Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori facing French 16th seed Gael Monfils and Australian 24th seed Nick Kyrgios meeting Canadian 12th seed Milos Raonic.

The winners will meet in a semi-final today, when top-ranked defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays Belgian 15th seed David Goffin in the other semi-final.

Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open champion, won her 16th career WTA title in January at Sydney and by reaching her 38th career final ensured she will crack the $20 million career prize money mark this weekend.

Ranked 19th, Kuznetsova would jump to 10th by capturing the title. It would be her first time in the top 10 since May of 2010.

She is the lowest-ranked Miami finalist since a 38th-rated Kim Clijsters in 2005.

Kuznetsova held after saving two break points in the 11th game, one with a service winner and the other on a backhand winner, and broke Bacsinszky on a forehand winner to take the first set in 64 minutes.

After two early exchanges of breaks to open the second set, Kuznetsova broke Bacsinszky in the sixth game for a 4-2 edge and served for the match at 5-3.

Kuznetsova denied Bacsinszky on three break points, two with service winners and the other on a forehand winner, and triumphed on her first match point with a backhand winner.

“I was trying to run as much as I could,” Kuznetsova said. “I can move well but I still need to attack and serve well and still finish the points.”

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