Svetlana Kuznetsova

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Svetlana Kuznetsova
Светла́на Кузнецо́ва
US Open 2009 cropped2.jpg
Kuznetsova at the 2009 US Open
Country Russia
Residence Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Born (1985-06-27) 27 June 1985 (age 29)
Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 8 12 in)
Turned pro 2000
Plays Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Prize money $18,064,145
Singles
Career record 513–241
Career titles 14 WTA, 1 ITF
Highest ranking No. 2 (September 10, 2007)
Current ranking No. 21 (August 18, 2014)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open QF (2005, 2009, 2013)
French Open W (2009)
Wimbledon QF (2003, 2005, 2007)
US Open W (2004)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals RR (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)
Olympic Games QF (2004)
Doubles
Career record 232–108
Career titles 16 WTA
Highest ranking No. 3 (June 7, 2004)
Current ranking No. 56 (August 18, 2014)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open W (2005, 2012)
French Open F (2004)
Wimbledon F (2005)
US Open F (2003, 2004)
Other Doubles tournaments
Tour Finals SF (2003, 2004)
Olympic Games QF (2008)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Australian Open 1R (2003)
French Open 2R (2003)
Wimbledon QF (2003)
Last updated on: 3 August 2014.

Svetlana Aleksandrovna Kuznetsova (Russian: Светла́на Алекса́ндровна Кузнецо́ва; IPA: [svʲɪtˈlanə ɐlʲɪkˈsandrəvnə kʊznʲɪˈt͡sovə] ( ); born 27 June 1985) is a Russian professional tennis player and as of 18 August 2014 ranked No. 21 in the WTA singles and No. 56 in the doubles ranking. Kuznetsova has appeared in four Grand Slam singles finals, winning two, and has also appeared in seven doubles finals, winning twice. As a doubles player, Kuznetsova has reached the finals of each grand slam at least once, winning the Australian twice. She has qualified five times for the round-robin stage of the WTA Tour Championships but has never qualified for the semifinals.

Born to an athletic family, Kuznetsova moved at the age of seven to Spain to attend the Sanchez-Casal Academy. Since her first appearance as a tennis player in a 2000 junior tournament, she was coached by numerous people and was sometimes without a coach. In 2001 she first appeared on a major tournament, the Madrid Open, and a year later won her first WTA title at the Nordea Nordic Light Open in Helsinki, Finland. Her first appearance in a Grand Slam was at the 2002 Australian Open but her first Grand Slam title came at the 2004 US Open, making her the third Russian woman to win a Grand Slam title, after Anastasia Myskina and Maria Sharapova. Kuznetsova's second Grand Slam title was the 2009 French Open, defeating compatriot Dinara Safina in the final in straight sets. At the 2006 French Open and the 2007 US Open singles tournament she was the runner-up, both times to Belgian player Justine Henin. As a result, Kuznetsova obtained a career-high No. 2 WTA ranking, holding that position for 24 weeks in 2007 and 2008.

Apart from single tournaments, Kuznetsova was also successful in doubles matches. With Arantxa Sánchez Vicario she won her first five WTA doubles titles. After a series of disappointing results with her she paired with such well-known tennis players as Martina Navratilova, Elena Likhovtseva, Alicia Molik, Amélie Mauresmo. Pairing with Likhovtseva she climbed to No. 3 WTA in doubles in 2004, holding that position for 8 weeks (7 consecutive), which remains her career-high. Kuznetsova also played a few times in mixed doubles, most prominently in 2003, but never achieved a better result beyond quarter finals. In 2010 she fell from the top-10 singles rankings for the first time since 2006 and has not regained that position since. Kuznetsova has won a total of 14 WTA and 1 ITF singles titles and 16 WTA doubles titles to date and US$18,064,145 in prize money, making her the second top Russian earner on court, number 11 of all female tennis players to date and No. 6 of active players.

Early life[edit]

Svetlana Aleksandrovna Kuznetsova was born in Leningrad. Her father, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, has coached five Olympic and world cycling champions. Kuznetsova's mother, Galina Tsareva, is a six-time world champion and holder of 20 world records in cycling, and her brother, Nikolay Kuznetsov, was a silver medalist at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and coach of the Russian cycling team Lokomotiv. Kuznetsova never showed inspiration for cycling, but rather tennis. She later stated in an interview that she liked watching tennis at an early age on, preferring men's over female's tennis. "I had posters in my room of MaliVai Washington, Marcelo Ríos, and (Yevgeny) Kafelnikov. It's very weird but this is who I liked. Later I was a big fan of (Marat) Safin.", she said. Kuznetsova began to play tennis at the age of seven, and moved to Spain six years later to receive better training and coaching. While there, she became fluent in Spanish.[2]

Career[edit]

2000: ITF Junior Career[edit]

Kuznetsova debuted in her first International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament in Mallorca on 31 January. In the first round, she defeated Katia Altilia from Italy in two straight sets, 6–0, 6–4. However, she lost in the quarter final to Oana–Elena Golimbioschi.[3] Her next appearance was in Talence in April. She defeated Aurore Desertin in the first round, but lost in the second round to Berengere Karpenschif, both from France. In Minsk, Belarus, in a tournament using the short sets scoring system, she reached the quarter final, after defeating the unranked Vera Zvonareva in the first round in four sets, and Daria Panova in three sets in the second round. In the quarter final, she lost to 574th ranked Elena Voropaeva in four sets, after losing two tie breaks in the two earlier sets. However, Kuznetsova was ranked in the top 900, receiving her first ranking of 889 during the week ending 20 November 2000. She moved to Mallorca again and joined the Mallorca 3 tournament. Kuznetsova lost in the first round to Dinara Safina after winning the first set. Her last tournament of the year was again in Mallorca, but now played in a minimum of four sets. In the Round of 32, she defeated Silvia Disderi. However, she fell to 8th seeded Mihaela Moldovan in the last round. She ended the season ranked 889.

2001–2002: First WTA titles[edit]

Kuznetsova began playing in tournaments on the ITF Circuit in 2000, winning her first title on the circuit in April 2001. Her first appearances in the main draws of tournaments on the main WTA Tour were at the Madrid Open in May of that year and at the Waikoloa Championships in Waikoloa, Hawaii in September, losing in the second round on both occasions. She finished the year 2001 ranked 259.

Kuznetsova made her debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam at the 2002 Australian Open, where, as a qualifier, she reached the second round before losing to 16th seed Iroda Tulyaganova.[4] However, she previously lost in the qualifying rounds of both the 2001 French Open and 2001 Wimbledon.

As a qualifier at the clay-court Nordea Nordic Light Open in Helsinki, Finland in August, Kuznetsova won her first WTA singles title, defeating World No. 24 Patty Schnyder in the quarterfinals for her first win over a top 40 player, before defeating Denisa Chládková in the final.[5] Kuznetsova entered the top 100 for the first time as a result of that victory. Kuznetsova qualified for the US Open, defeating 19th seed Anne Kremer in the first round for her first win over a top 20 player, before losing in the third round to 13th seed Silvia Farina Elia.[6] In September, Kuznetsova won her second title at the hard court Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic in Bali, Indonesia, defeating former Grand Slam champions Arantxa Sánchez Vicario and Conchita Martínez.[7] Also during 2002, she teamed up with Sánchez Vicario to win the first WTA doubles titles of her career, in Sopot, Poland, Helsinki and Kōtō, Japan. Kuznetsova finished the 2002 season as World No. 43 in singles.

2003: First Grand Slam quarterfinal[edit]

Kuznetsova began her season at the Brisbane International. She received a wild card, but fell in the first round in the singles to Elena Bovina. In the doubles competition, she paired with Martina Navratilova, with whom she would play throughout the year (except on the Pacific Life Open, partnering with Slovak Janette Husárová), and won against Nathalie Dechy and Émilie Loit in straight sets.[8] In the Australian Open, she lost to second seed Venus Williams in the first round. With Navratilova, they lost against ninth seed Daniela Hantuchová and Chanda Rubin in the third round. She paired with Australian Jeff Coetzee but lost to Mark Knowles and Elena Likhovtseva in two tight sets in the first round.[9] In the singles event of the Dubai Tennis Championships in February, Kuznetsova won the first round against 6th seeded Francesca Schiavone, but was beaten by Dinara Safina in the second round. In the doubles event she and Navratilova were beaten by eventual runner-ups María Vento-Kabchi and Angelique Widjaja.[10] She did not reach the quarterfinals of any tournament during the first half of the year. Kuznetsova's win over World No. 11 Anastasia Myskina in the second round of the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California was her highest up to that date.[11]

In the first round of the French Open, Kuznetsova lost to Meghann Shaughnessy. She was also unsuccessful with Jared Palmer in the mixed doubles, losing to Nadia Petrova and Paul Haarhuis in the round of 16. Kuznetsova paired with Navratilova in the doubles match, but lost to Kim Clijsters and Ai Sugiyama in three sets in the quarter final.[12] Kuznetsova participated at Wimbledon, where in the fourth round, she defeated wildcard Maria Sharapova to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, losing to third seed Justine Henin. At the doubles, they were again defeated by Clijsters and Sugiyama. Kuznetsova paired with Australian Todd Woodbridge in the mixed doubles, but lost against Leoš Friedl and Liezel Huber in the quarter final.[13] She then made her first semifinal appearance of the year at the Acura Classic in San Diego, before losing to Henin.[14] At the US Open singles tournament, Kuznetsova lost in the third round to top seed Kim Clijsters. However, in the doubles competition, she again partnered with Navratilova and reached the first Grand Slam final of her career but were beaten by Paola Suárez and Virginia Ruano Pascual in two straight sets.[15] She entered the Sparkassen Cup in Leipzig, losing to fifth seeded Daniela Hantuchová in the first round. Kuznetsova and Navratilova won the doubles title against Elena Likhovtseva and Nadia Petrova.[16] In the doubles competition at the Ladies Kremlin Cup, they reached the semifinals before losing to Russian couple and runner-ups Anastasia Myskina and Vera Zvonareva.[17] Her last appearance of the year was at the WTA Tour Championships doubles competition in Los Angeles. In her first Tour Championships participation she and Navratilova lost in the first round to eventual champions Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suárez.[18] She finished the 2003 season as World No. 36.

2004: First Grand Slam title (winning US Open)[edit]

Kuznetsova reached the third round of the singles competition at the Australian Open before losing to top seed Justine Henin. She reached her second Grand Slam doubles final with new partner Elena Likhovtseva before losing to Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suárez.[19] Several weeks later, playing singles at Dubai, Kuznetsova defeated former World No. 1 Venus Williams in the quarterfinals before defeating World No. 8 Ai Sugiyama in the semifinals for her first win over a top 10 player. Kuznetsova lost the final to World No. 1 Henin.[20] The following week, Kuznetsova defeated Henin for the first time in the semifinals of the Qatar Total Open in Doha, before losing in the final to compatriot Myskina in three sets,[21] pushing her into the top 20 for the first time. In April, Kuznetsova reached her third singles final of the year at the start of the clay-court season at the J&S Cup in Warsaw, losing to Venus Williams in the final.[22] Kuznetsova climbed to No. 11 by the time of the French Open. There, she reached the fourth round before losing to eventual champion Myskina, after holding a match point in the third set. In doubles Kuznetsova and Likhovtseva reached the final, losing to Suarez and Ruano Pascual.[23] Following the French Open, Kuznetsova climbed to career-highs of World No. 9 in the singles rankings, her first time in the top ten, and on 7 June 2004, World No. 3 in the doubles rankings. Kuznetsova won her third title at the Hastings Direct International Championships in Eastbourne, defeating Hantuchová in the final in three sets.[24] At Wimbledon, Kuznetsova suffered a first-round loss to 118th–ranked Virginie Razzano.[25] She fell to No. 4 in the doubles on 26 July, losing in the LA Women's Tennis Championships to 113th ranked Gisela Dulko and Patricia Tarabini.

Representing Russia at the Olympics in August, Kuznetsova reached the quarterfinals before losing to silver-medallist Amélie Mauresmo.[26] She went into the US Open seeded ninth. There, she defeated 14th seed Petrova in the quarterfinals, and in her first Grand Slam semifinal, defeated fifth seed and former champion Davenport, ending the American's 22-match winning streak.[27] In the final, Kuznetsova defeated sixth seed Dementieva. Kuznetsova was the first female Russian to win the US Open and the third to win a Grand Slam singles title, following the successes of Myskina and Maria Sharapova earlier in the year. Meanwhile, Kuznetsova teamed with Likhovtseva to reach the final of the doubles tournament before losing there to Suarez and Ruano Pascual, marking Kuznetsova's fourth consecutive defeat by the pair in Grand Slams. Kuznetsova, however, climbed again to No. 3 on 13 September, after her loss in Los Angeles in early July.[28] Kuznetsova continued her success by winning the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic in Bali, Indonesia defeating Marlene Weingärtner in the final.[29] In the doubles she reached with Arantxa-Sánchez Vicario the final, losing to Anastasia Myskina and Ai Sugiyama. This improved her singles ranking to a new high of World No. 5, but worsen her doubles ranking to No. 4 on 20 September. The following week, at the China Open in Beijing, Kuznetsova defeated Wimbledon champion Sharapova in the semifinals to extend her winning streak to 14 matches. However, she lost in the final to Serena Williams.[30] Making her debut at the season-ending WTA Championships in Los Angeles, Kuznetsova lost two of three matches in the preliminary round-robin stage and exited before the semifinals.[31] Kuznetsova finished the season as World No. 5.

2005: Out of the top 10[edit]

Kuznetsova began the year by reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, losing to fourth seed Sharapova in three sets. Kuznetsova teamed with Australian Alicia Molik to win her first Grand Slam doubles title, defeating Davenport and Corina Morariu.[32] In the first round she received a bye at the Toray Pan Pacific Open and was defeated by runner-up Lindsay Davenport in the semifinal.[33] Kuznetsova did not reach any finals during the spring hard-court season, with defeats including one to World No. 97 Sania Mirza in the first round at Dubai.[34] She received a first-round bye at the Pacific Life Open and reached the quarterfinal before losing to Elena Dementieva.[35] She joined the next event, the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami, and progressed to the 4th round after receiving a bye in the 1st round. There she was defeated by Ana Ivanovic.[36]

She made her first final of the year at the J&S Cup in Warsaw, defeating former World No. 1 Clijsters in the semis. In the final, Kuznetsova lost to Henin.[37] At the French Open, Kuznetsova lost again to eventual champion Henin in a tightly contested fourth round match, having wasted a match point in the third set.[38] At Wimbledon, Kuznetsova reached the quarterfinals for the second time before losing to top seed Davenport. She teamed up with Mauresmo to reach her sixth Grand Slam doubles final but suffered a heavy defeat by Cara Black and Liezel Huber.[39]

At the US Open, she lost to World No. 7 Ekaterina Bychkova in the first round, becoming the first female defending US Open champion to lose in the first round.[40] This defeat dropped her out of the top ten. She defeated Zvonareva in the quarterfinal of the Kremlin Cup but was beaten by Francesca Schiavone in the semifinal.[41] At the $1,300,000 Zurich Open Kuznetsova lost in the first round to the unseeded Nathalie Dechy.[42] She finished the year ranked World No. 18.

2006: Return to form[edit]

Kuznetsova at the Zurich Open, 2006

Kuznetsova started her season at the Australian Open and reached the fourth round before losing there to top seed Davenport.[43] Several weeks later, Kuznetsova rebounded at Dubai, defeating World No. 2 Mauresmo in the quarterfinals for her first win over a top ten player since 2004. She lost to Henin in the semifinals.[44] In March, Kuznetsova defeated former World No. 1 Martina Hingis in the third round of the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami, before going on to defeat World No. 1 Mauresmo in the semifinals. In the final, she defeated Sharapova to win the first Tier I title of her career and her first singles title in 18 months.[45] This win returned her to the top ten.

Kuznetsova reached her second final of the year at the clay-court J&S Cup in Warsaw, defeating Venus Williams en route. In the final, she lost to World No. 2 Clijsters,[46] marking third consecutive runner-up finish. At the French Open, Kuznetsova reached the quarterfinals for the first time, where she defeated 14th seed Dinara Safina. In the semifinals, she defeated 17 year old Czech Nicole Vaidišová after saving a match point. In her second Grand Slam final, Kuznetsova lost to Henin.[47] Kuznetsova reached only the third round at Wimbledon, losing to 27th seed Li Na.[48]

At the US Open Kuznetsova lost in the fourth round to 19th seed Jelena Janković.[49] In September, she won her second title of the year at the $225,000 Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic in Bali as 1st seeded – for the first time in her career –[50] defeating Davenport in the semifinals and Marion Bartoli in the final.[51] The following week, she won the China Open in Beijing, after defeating World No. 1 Mauresmo in the final.[52]

Competing at the season-ending WTA Tour Championships, played in Madrid, for the second time Kuznetsova again failed to advance past the preliminary round-robin stage, winning just one of her three matches.[53] She finished the season as World No. 4.

2007: Continued success, World No. 2[edit]

Kuznetsova began the year by losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to 16th seed Israeli Shahar Pe'er.[54] She rebounded to reach her first final of the year in February at the Qatar Total Open in Doha, losing to World No. 1 Henin in two sets.[55] She was seed 1st and made the final of the Tier I Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells, but lost to Hantuchová in straight sets.[56] Reaching the final improved her ranking to third during the week ending 18 March, a career high.

Kuznetsova continued on form during the clay-courts season. At the J&S Cup in Warsaw, she defeated Venus Williams for the first time in her career in the quarterfinals before losing to Alona Bondarenko in the semifinals.[57] She made the final of another Tier I tournament, at the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, after defeating World No. 1 Henin for only the second time in the semifinals. In the final, the 1st seeded Kuznetsova lost to 12th seeded Ana Ivanovic.[58] The following week, Kuznetsova reached the final of the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, losing to 3rd seed Janković.[59] As the third seed at the French Open, Kuznetsova advanced to the quarterfinals without dropping a set but lost there to runner-up Ivanovic.[60] Kuznetsova reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon for the third time in July in which she lost to eventual champion Venus Williams.[61]

In August, the 1st-seeded Kuznetsova won her first title of the year at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament in New Haven, after three of her opponents retired due to injury or illness, including her finals opponent Ágnes Szávay.[62] At the US Open, Kuznetsova defeated sixth seed Anna Chakvetadze in the semifinals to advance to her third Grand Slam final. She lost to Henin in straight sets.[63] As a result of this run, Kuznetsova reached World No. 2 during the week ending 9 September.

At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, Kuznetsova recorded her first career win over Serena Williams before losing in the semifinals to Tatiana Golovin.[64] The following week she was seeded 1st in the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, but lost to Serena Williams in the semifinals.[65] Kuznetsova completed the year by competing at the year-ending Championships in Madrid, but once again failed to progress beyond the preliminary round-robin stage, losing all three matches.[66] She finished the season as World No. 2 and as the highest-ranked Russian player for the first time.

2008: Steady ranking[edit]

Kuznetsova at Suzuki Warsaw Masters 2008

Kuznetsova began the season by reaching the final at the Medibank International in Sydney, losing to World No. 1 Henin in the final set.[67] At the Australian Open, Kuznetsova was seeded second, but fell in the third round to 29th seed Agnieszka Radwańska.[68] After her defeat at the Qatar Open to 15th seeded Sybille Bammer, she fell after 15 weeks to No. 3 on 25 February.[69] Kuznetsova made her second final of the season in Dubai, defeating former World No. 1 Mauresmo in the quarterfinals and World No. 4 Janković in the semifinals. In the final Kuznetsova lost to Elena Dementieva.[70] At the Tier I Pacific Life Open in March, Kuznetsova defeated Radwańska in the quarterfinals before defeating Australian Open champion Sharapova in the semifinals. In the final, Kuznetsova lost to top-seeded Ivanović.[71] This marked her eighth defeat in her nine most recent final appearances. At the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open the next fortnight, Kuznetsova defeated Venus Williams in the quarterfinals but then lost to her sister Serena in the semifinals.[72]

Kuznetsova's form dipped following the conclusion of the spring hard-court season, as she won just three of five matches on clay leading up to the French Open. She advanced to the semifinals without dropping a set, but then lost to Safina.[73] At Wimbledon, Kuznetsova lost in the fourth round to Agnieszka Radwańska, after leading by a break in the third and final set.[74]

In the summer, she competed at the Beijing Olympics, losing to local favorite Li Na in the first round. Seeded third in the US Open, she fell to Katarina Srebotnik in the third round in three sets.[75] After the latter loss, she dropped out of the top five in the world rankings for the first time in two years. The following week, Kuznetsova made her first final since March at the Tier I Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, defeating World No. 2 Janković in the quarterfinals before going losing to Safina in the final.[76] The following week, Kuznetsova reached the final at the China Open in Beijing, but lost to Janković.[77] This marked Kuznetsova's 10th defeat in her last 11 finals.

She mirrored her earlier performance at the season-ending WTA Tour Championships in Doha, Qatar, losing all three of her matches.[78] Kuznetsova finished the year ranked World No. 8, the only woman in the top ten not to have won a title that year.

2009: French Open title[edit]

At the Australian Open, Kuznetsova reached the quarterfinals for the second time in her career, but lost to eventual champion Serena Williams, after being within two points of winning the match in the second set, 7–5, 5–7, 1–6.[79] After that, Kuznetsova did not win another match for nearly two months. She broke her losing streak at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, reaching the semifinals, losing to Victoria Azarenka.[80]

Kuznetsova at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships

At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Kuznetsova defeated World No. 3 Dementieva in the semifinals to reach her first final that year. She defeated World No. 1 Safina[81] to win her first singles title since August 2007. The following week, Kuznetsova also reached the final at the Premier 5 Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, having defeated World No. 4 Janković en route. She lost the championship to Safina.[82] In the quarterfinals of the French Open Kuznetsova defeated Serena Williams 7-6, 5-7, 7-5 before defeating Samantha Stosur to reach her fourth Grand Slam final. There she defeated top seed Safina to win her second Grand Slam title.[83] At Wimbledon, Kuznetsova fell in the third round to unseeded German Sabine Lisicki.[84]

She pulled out of the LA Women's Tennis Championships, citing a foot injury.[85] Her next event was the Cincinnati Open, where she fell to Clijsters in the third round.[86] She then played in the Rogers Cup and lost to Samantha Stosur in the second round.[87] She received a wild card entrance to the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament in New Haven, but lost in the quarterfinals to Mauresmo. This became her last tournament as 1st seeded. At the US Open she won in straight set wins over Goerges, Sevastova, and Peer, but lost against Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round.[88] At the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, seeded fifth, she lost to Andrea Petkovic.[89]

A week later, she played at China Open as the sixth seed. She advanced to the final beating Petrova in the semifinal and won against Agnieszka Radwańska in the final.[90] Soon after, she played at the WTA Tour Championships in Doha, Qatar. She entered the Maroon group along with Dementieva, Serena Williams and Venus Williams. She lost both her matches against the Williams sisters. She defeated Dementieva, breaking her 8–match losing streak at the Championships.[91] Kuznetsova ended the year ranked No. 3.

2010-2011: Struggles with form[edit]

Kuznetsova began the year at the Medibank International Sydney. She defeated Alisa Kleybanova in the first round before falling to Dominika Cibulková in the second round.[92] Kuznetsova was seeded 3rd for the Australian Open. She advanced to the 4th round, losing to 19th seeded Petrova.[93] Following the tournament, Kuznetsova's ranking dropped to World No. 4. Kuznetsova was seeded second for the Dubai Tennis Championships but fell in a third round upset to qualifier and World No. 99 Regina Kulikova.[94] At the Billie Jean King Cup, Kuznetsova lost her match 6–4 to Williams.[95] For the first as the top seed, due to Serena Williams and Safina's withdrawal at the BNP Paribas Open, she was upset by Carla Suárez Navarro in the second round after receiving a first round bye.[96] Kuznetsova was seeded, for the sixth and last time to date, first at the Sony Ericsson Open and after receiving a bye in the first round, managed to prevent another upset by defeating Peng Shuai in the second round. She then defeated 27th seed Ágnes Szávay to book a fourth round encounter with Marion Bartoli, losing to the French No. 1 in the quarterfinal.[97]

Kuznetsova was the defending champion at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, but fell to Li Na in the second round, after defeating Srebotnik.[98] At the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, where she had reached the final the year before, she lost in the second round to Maria Kirilenko, after receiving a first round bye.[99] As the defending champion at the French Open, Kuznetsova was the 6th seed. She defeated Sorana Cîrstea and Andrea Petkovic in the early rounds. In the third round she lost to 30th seeded Kirilenko.[100] Kuznetsova advanced to the quarterfinals of the Aegon International in Eastbourne, losing to Ekaterina Makarova.[101] Kuznetsova was seeded 19th at the Wimbledon. She defeated Akgul Amanmuradova in the first round, before falling to Anastasia Rodionova in the second round.[102]

Kuznetsova rallied by winning the Mercury Insurance Open in San Diego. She defeated Yanina Wickmayer, Sara Errani, Coco Vandeweghe, and Flavia Pennetta en route to the final which she won in three sets against Agnieszka Radwańska.[103] She then played at the Cincinnati Open suffering an early exit to Sharapova in the first round.[104] At the Rogers Cup, Kuznetsova made it to the semifinals before falling to Caroline Wozniacki in two sets.[105] Kuznetsova was seeded 11th at the US Open. She defeated Kimiko Date-Krumm, Anastasija Sevastova, and 23rd seed Kirilenko before falling in the fourth round to unseeded Cibulková.[106] Kuznetsova was the 10th seed at the Toray Pan Pacific Open, but lost to Petkovic in the second round.[107]

As the defending champion, Kuznetsova exited in the first round of the Premier tournament China Open to Roberta Vinci.[108] She finished the year ranked World No. 27, her lowest since 2003.

Svetlana Kuznetsova at Roland Garros

Kuznetsova's first tournament of 2011 was the ASB Classic Open in Auckland, New Zealand where she was the third seed. She fell to Peng Shuai in the second round, although initially up a set.[109] She then headed to Sydney for the Medibank International Sydney where she lost in the quarterfinals to eight-seeded Li.[110] Kuznetsova was seeded 23rd at the Australian Open where she lost in the fourth round to Francesca Schiavone, squandering six match points in the final set.[111] The match was the longest recorded women's Grand Slam match in the Open Era, with a final scoreline of 6–4, 1–6, 16–14, and the second-longest women's match in the Open Era.[112] Her next tournament was the Dubai Tennis Championships. The 16th seed set up a date in the final with Caroline Wozniacki by beating Flavia Pennetta in the semifinal. Kuznetsova was defeated by the top-seed. In doubles, she teamed up with Vera Zvonareva, but pulled out before the semifinal against Liezel Huber and María José Martínez Sánchez due to a right elbow injury of Zvonareva.[113] She lost in the Qatar Ladies Open tournament against Shahar Pe'er in the first round.[114] Kuznetsova received a bye in the first round at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, but was defeated by wildcard Christina McHale in two tie-breaks in the second round. At the doubles event, Kuznetsova teamed up with Vera Zvonareva. They received a wildcard in the first round, but were defeated by fourth seed King and Shvedova.[115] In the singles tournament of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Kuznetsova was 11th-seeded and lost in the third round to Peng Shuai in straight sets. In the doubles tournament, again with Zvonareva and receiving a wildcard entry, they exited in the second round against María José Martínez Sánchez and Anabel Medina Garrigues.[116]

Kuznetsova was seeded second at the 2011 Andalucia Tennis Experience after receiving a wildcard. She succeeded to move to the semifinal where she lost against qualifier Irina-Camelia Begu.[117] She failed to reach the second round in both the Madrid Open and Internationali BNL d'Italia, losing to Dominika Cibulková and Gréta Arn respectively. In Madrid she partnered with Zvonareva and received a wildcard. They moved into the second round, but lost against King and Shvedova.[118] Kuznetsova was seeded 13th at the French Open singles event where she lost against Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinal, her first in a Grand Slam tournament since 2009. At the doubles event she paired with Zvonareva and defeated unseeded Klaudia Jans and Alicja Rosolska from Poland. They lost against third seeds King and Shvedova.[119] She lost against Dominika Cibulková in the quarterfinal of the UNICEF Open.[120] At the Wimbledon singles tournament she defeated Zhang Shuai and Alexandra Dulgheru, but lost against Yanina Wickmayer.[121]

Kuznetsova was the defending champion at the Mercury Insurance Open, but withdrew due to a groin strain.[122] She recovered quickly from the injury and entered the Rogers Cup, but lost to Simona Halep in the first round.[123] As 14th-seed, she made it to the third round of the Western & Southern Open and was beaten by eventual champion Maria Sharapova.[124] Kuznetsova reached the fourth round of the US Open in which she lost to top-seeded Wozniacki.[125]

2012: Injuries and out of Top 50[edit]

Kuznetsova began her season at the ASB Classic in Auckland, where she reached the semifinal, losing in three sets to Chinese Zheng Jie.[126] At the Australian Open, she was defeated in the third round of the singles event by German Sabine Lisicki. In contrast, she partnered with Vera Zvonareva as in the previous season and won her second Grand Slam doubles title against the Italian duo Errani and Vinci, defeating them in a three sets final.[127] It was her best doubles result since 2009. It was the first time since 2008 that an unseeded pair won the Australian Open doubles title.[128]

Kuznetsova was seeded 26th at the 2012 French Open. She upset World No. 3 Agnieszka Radwańska in the third round, but subsequently lost in the fourth round to eventual runner-up Sara Errani.[129]

Kuznetsova then suffered a first round loss at Wimbledon, falling to Yanina Wickmayer in straight sets. It was the first time she lost in the first round of any Grand Slam since the 2005 U.S. Open where she was the defending champion. She withdrew from the 2012 US Open, ending a streak of 40 consecutive Grand Slam appearances dating back to 2002.[130]

2013: Comeback from injury, return to form[edit]

Playing doubles with Sam Stosur at the 2014 Australian Open

Kuznetsova began her comeback at the 2013 Apia International Sydney, where she had to qualify to enter the main draw. In the second round, she upset former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in three sets for her first win in a main draw of any tournament since the previous year's French Open.[131]

Kuznetsova entered the Australian Open unseeded, but she was able to reach the quarter-finals for the third time, after defeating Wozniacki for the second time this year, in the fourth round.[132] She subsequently lost in the quarter-finals to World No. 1, defending and eventual champion Victoria Azarenka in two sets. She next played at the Qatar Total Open and defeated ninth seed Marion Bartoli 6–4 6–4 in the second round, before losing in the third to Samantha Stosur.

Kuznetsova then entered Indian Wells as an unseeded player. She matched her 2012 performance by reaching the third round, defeating former champion Jelena Janković in the second round before losing to Marion Bartoli in the third. At Miami, Kuznetsova was again unseeded, but she managed to reach the third round, losing to Ana Ivanovic in straight sets.

At the French Open, Kuznetsova reached her second consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, where she lost to World No. 1 and eventual champion Serena Williams in three sets.[133] The second set which Kuznetsova won was the only one dropped by Williams during the tournament. She had defeated 22nd-seed and compatriot Ekaterina Makarova and German sixth seed Angelique Kerber en route.

2014: Steady ranking, first WTA title since 2010[edit]

Kuznetsova began the year with a loss to Varvara Lepchenko in the first round at Sydney. At the first round of PTT Pattaya Open, Kuznetsova defeated Zhang Shuai to record her 500th career victory.[134] This immediately followed a first round loss to Elina Svitolina at the Australian Open. Kuznetsova lost to Petra Kvitova in three sets in the third round at the 2014 BNP Paribas Open. At the Sony Open Tennis, Kuznetsova was upset in her first match by 17-year-old Croat Donna Vekić in straight sets after receiving a first round bye.[135]

Kuznetsova reached the quarterfinals at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was defeated by future finalist Ivanović. In the following competition, the 7th-seed Russian was finalist at the Portugal Open, losing to Carla Suárez Navarro in tough three sets. This was her first single final in more than three years.[136]

In Roland Garros, Kuznetsova repeated her success in the previous year, climbing to the quarterfinals, before that defeating 5th-seed and Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová in the third round. The injured Kuznetsova was helpless against finalist Simona Halep, who defeated her in two straight sets.[137]

Kuznetsova was upset in the first round of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships by Portugal's Michelle Larcher de Brito 6-3, 3-6, 1-6.

Winning her first WTA title in almost four years, Kuznetsova outlasted Kurumi Nara 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to claim the 2014 Citi Open. Seeded sixth in the tournament, the Russian broke unseeded Nara in the final game to win her fourteenth career title.[138]

Rivalries[edit]

Kuznetsova vs. Henin[edit]

Belgian tennis legend Justine Henin was one of Kuznetsova's leading rivals during the middle portion of her career. Of the 19 matches that they played, Kuznetsova earned three monumental victories, including their final one.[139] Henin won their first meeting in the 2003 Wimbledon Quarterfinal when Kuznetsova, just 17, lost in straight sets. Kuznetsova earned her first win over the Belgian at the semifinals of the 2004 Total Qatar Open, where she went on to lose in the final to Anastasia Myskina. This result projected the Russian into the world's top 20 players for the first time. Arguably their finest match followed in the fourth round of the 2005 French Open, where Henin saved two match points en route to a 7–6(8-6), 3-6, 7-5 victory.[140] Henin went on to win the tournament that and the following two years, beating Kuznetsova in the 2006 final. Henin additionally defeated Kuznetsova in the finals of the 2007 US Open grand slam tournament in straight sets. Sveta beat Henin for the second time in the finals of the 2007 Qatar Telecom German Open tournament in Berlin by a score of 6–4, 5–7, 6–4, becoming the second-to-last person to do so in 2007. The Belgian went on a seven-month, 32-match winning streak after Wimbledon, having lifted the French Open directly beforehand.[141] Henin unexpectedly retired in 2008, but returned to the tour briefly in 2010, only to suffer an elbow tear at Wimbledon. Justine Henin made one final comeback following her injury at the 2011 Australian Open, where Kuznetsova defeated her in a dramatic match, 6–4, 7–6(8) in the third round. Due to the recurring nature of her elbow injury, Henin retired immediately following her match with Kuznetsova, making the Russian the final person to play against and defeat her.[142]

Kuznetsova vs. Radwańska[edit]

Kuznetsova and Agnieszka Radwańska have played each other fourteen times since 2007, with Kuznetsova leading the head-to-head 10–4.[143] Their first meeting was at Wimbledon in 2007 with Kuznetsova winning in straight sets. Kuznetsova won their first three meetings, but in the four meetings that eventuated in 2008, Kuznetsova lost three of them, including in the third round of the Australian Open[144] and in the fourth round of Wimbledon.[145] Additionally, she also lost against her at the year-end championships later in the year, after Radwańska replaced an injured Ana Ivanovic. Kuznetsova subsequently dominated Radwańska in future meetings, winning the last six meetings between the pair, the most recent being an upset victory at the 2012 French Open,[146] until Radwańska stopped the rot at the 2014 Mutua Madrid Open, saving a match point in the process.[147] Prior to 2014, Kuznetsova's two most recent titles came by defeating Radwańska in the championship match, first at Beijing in 2009[148] and then at San Diego in 2010.[149]

Kuznetsova vs. Ivanovic[edit]

Kuznetsova and Ana Ivanovic have played each other thirteen times since 2005, with Ivanovic leading the head-to-head 10–3.[150] Ivanovic dominated their meetings on a regular basis; she won the pair's first encounter at the 2005 Miami tournament in what was the Serb's first ever appearance in the main draw of a Tier I tournament in which she was not required to qualify. Kuznetsova, however, won their meeting in Sydney in 2006; it was the Russian's only victory against Ivanovic outside of the Fed Cup. They have met in two finals, both going Ivanovic's way: first in Berlin in 2007[151] and at Indian Wells in 2008, the latter of which they played as the top two seeds.[152] Additionally, at the 2007 WTA Tour Championships, Kuznetsova lost to Ivanovic in three sets on the Serb's 20th birthday.[153] Kuznetsova has only beaten Ivanovic twice since 2006, both in Fed Cup matches (2010 and 2012). Their most recent meeting was in the third round of the 2014 Western & Southern Open with Kuznetsova losing in three sets.

Fed Cup participation[edit]

Kuznetsova joined team Russia in 2004 in the doubles and singles competition. Her teammates were Myskina and Zvonareva in singles and Likhovtseva in doubles. They competed against Australia in the first round in the Luzhniki Stadium in an indoor carpet court. Kuznetsova defeated Molik and Molik/Rennae Stubbs. The end result was 4–1 for Russia; Myskina lost to Molik.[154] In the quarterfinal they faced Argentina in Buenos Aires. Kuznetsova lost to Gisela Dulko. In the doubles she defeated Dulko and partner Patricia Tarabini. The final score was the same as in the first round, 4–1.[155] In the semifinal they faced Austria. Again in Moscow, Kuznetsova defeated Yvonne Meusburger, Daniela Kix and Meusburger and Patricia Wartusch all in straight sets. The final score was a straight 5–0.[156] In the final they faced France only three days after the semifinal. Kuznetsova beat Dechy, but lost to Tatiana Golovin.[157] Russia won the final 3–2 for its first Fed Cup victory.[158]

Kuznetsova did not participate in the next two years. She rejoined in 2007 and defeated Spain's Lourdes Domínguez Lino and Anabel Medina Garrigues in the quarterfinal.[159] She was elected in the final that year. There, she won against Mara Santangelo and Schiavone from Italy. Russia again won that year's Cup.[160]

The next year she again participated. Playing against the United States she defeated 282nd-ranked Ahsha Rolle in the semifinal. In contrast, Kuznetsova lost the doubles competition with partner Elena Vesnina, beaten by Liezel Huber and Vania King. In the end, Russia defeated the US 3–2.[161] In the final, Russia defeated Spain as it had the prior year. Kuznetsova won against Carla Suárez Navarro and Garrigues. Team Russia won the 2008 Fed Cup with 4–0.[162]

In 2009 Kuznetsova joined the group again. She played against China in the quarterfinal and won in the singles over opponent Zi Yan, and in the doubles, together with Dementieva, over Tian-Tian Sun and Zi Yan, after losing the first set. Russia won against China in a straight 5–0 final scoreline.[163] Russia lost to Italy in the semifinal. Kuznetsova was the only winner, defeating Pennetta.[164]

At the 2010 Fed Cup, Russia defeated Serbia in the quarterfinal 3–2.[165] There, Kuznetsova won two of three matches, beating Ivanović, and Ivanović and Janković in doubles, with partner Kleybanova. She lost to Janković.

Kuznetsova joined the Russian team in 2011. In the first round they faced France on 5 and 6 February. In the first round, Kuznetsova was defeated by Alizé Cornet, but defeated Virginie Razzano a day later. She teamed up with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and defeated Cornet/Julie Coin in the doubles.[166] Russia became just the fourth nation to come back from 0–2 down in a Fed Cup tie since the best-of-five-match format was introduced to the World Group in 1995.[167] Russia defeated Italy in the semifinal in 5–0. There, Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Roberta Vinci.[168] Russia succeeded, the first time since 2008, in a final in the Fed Cup. Russia, however, lost against Czech Republic in 3–2.[169]

The first round of the 2012 Fed Cup saw three wins in the single competition, two of which were made by Kuznetsova, the first against Silvia Soler Espinosa, the second against Carla Suárez Navarro. The pair Kuznetsova/Petrova retired in their last match due to Kuznetsova's fatigue, but Russia still won in 3–2.[170][171] Team Russia lost against the Serbian team in the semifinal, 2–3. Although winning the first match against Ana Ivanovic in three sets, Kuznetsova was later defeated by Jelena Janković in two straight sets.[172]

Coaches[edit]

Kuznetsova received training at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona, Spain from the age of 14 and was coached under direction of club president Emilio Sánchez and Sergio Casal.[173] Her major coaching relationship was with Stefan Ortega who was a regular guest in her player's box and helped advance her game.[174]

After a series of poor finals' results Kuznetsova ended her relationship with the Sanchez-Casal academy in 2009 and moved to Moscow on the advice of Roger Federer to start training with experienced Russian coach Olga Morozova.[175] They ended their relationship after the BNP Paribas Open in March 2009, after which Kuznetsova was without a coach.[176] As of May 2009 her coach was former Russian tennis player and Fed Cup coach Larisa Neiland.[177] She was coached for a short period by Loïc Courteau after trying unsuccessfully to convince Mauresmo to coach her.[178] Her next coach was for a short time the former Spanish tennis player Carlos Cuadrado, until he was replaced with her former coach Neiland.[179] After the loss in the Italian Open, Kuznetsova has switched to Morozova, then to Amos Mansdorf[180] and finally in May 2012 to Argentine Hernán Gumy, former coach of Marat Safin. She said in an interview, "I really enjoy working with [Gumy], ...he's, I think, someone who I was looking for for a very long time. I understand him perfectly." With his help she won three matches in straight sets at the 2012 French Open, including claiming the scalp of then-World No. 3 Agnieszka Radwańska. Her wish is "to go back to [her] level."[181]

Playing style[edit]

Svetlana Kuznetsova plays right-handed and has a two-handed backhand. She is an all-round player.[182] She is noted for her great speed on court and her strong forehand with much topspin.[183] She is capable of producing effective volley winners providing an agile touch. According to Richard Pagliaro of ESPN, "Kuznetsova can alter the spin, speed and height of her shots and owns the variety that plays well on clay" but since her recent failures, "consistency has eluded her, and she's prone to flakiness and frustration under pressure."[184] Jeff Cooper of about.com meant her greatest strengths were the "outstandingly powerful and accurate forehand. Strong topspin on forehand and backhand. Solid serve. Great speed" and outlined her basic style as "power baseliner" with "no major weakness".[185] She is known for her unpredictability and inconsistency.[186][187]

Endorsements and popular culture[edit]

Kuznetsova extended her long standing endorsement agreements with the sport brand Fila on 13 January 2012. She debuted with the new apparel at the 2012 Australian Open alongside fellow Fila player Kim Clijsters. According to chairman Gene Yoon, "Both players are longtime members of the Fila family and have played an important role in Fila's rich history in tennis."[188]

However that contract was not extended beyond 2012 and subsequently, shortly before the start of the 2013 Australian Open, Kuznetsova signed a new apparel endorsement deal with Chinese sports apparel brand Qiaodan.[189]

Svetlana Kuznetsova appeared in video games Top Spin 3,[190] Virtua Tennis 2009[191] and Virtua Tennis 4 as a playable character.[192]

Career statistics[edit]

Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 SR W–L
Australian Open A A 2R 1R 3R QF 4R 4R 3R QF 4R 4R 3R QF 1R 0 / 13 31–13
French Open A A LQ 1R 4R 4R F QF SF W 3R QF 4R QF QF 1 / 12 45–11
Wimbledon A A LQ QF 1R QF 3R QF 4R 3R 2R 3R 1R A 1R 0 / 10 22–10
US Open A A 3R 3R W 1R 4R F 3R 4R 4R 4R A 3R 1R 1 / 11 33–10
Win–Loss 0–0 0–0 3–2 6–4 12–3 11–4 14–4 17–4 12–4 16–4 9–4 12–4 5–3 10–3 4–4 2 / 46 131–44
Overall Win–Loss 6–5 16–6 48–15 26–18 60–23 29–17 60–20 55–20 44–21 43–16 26–17 34–21 16–13 36–19 499–231
Year End Ranking 889 259 43 36 5 18 4 2 8 3 27 19 72 21

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles: 4 (2–2)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Winner 2004 US Open Hard Russia Elena Dementieva 6–3, 7–5
Runner-up 2006 French Open Clay Belgium Justine Henin 4–6, 4–6
Runner-up 2007 US Open Hard Belgium Justine Henin 1–6, 3–6
Winner 2009 French Open Clay Russia Dinara Safina 6–4, 6–2

Doubles: 7 (2–5)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 2003 US Open Hard United States Martina Navratilova Spain Virginia Ruano Pascual
Argentina Paola Suárez
6–2, 6–3
Runner-up 2004 Australian Open Hard Russia Elena Likhovtseva Spain Virginia Ruano Pascual
Argentina Paola Suárez
6–4, 6–3
Runner-up 2004 French Open Clay Russia Elena Likhovtseva Spain Virginia Ruano Pascual
Argentina Paola Suárez
6–0, 6–3
Runner-up 2004 US Open Hard Russia Elena Likhovtseva Spain Virginia Ruano Pascual
Argentina Paola Suárez
6–4, 7–5
Winner 2005 Australian Open Hard Australia Alicia Molik United States Lindsay Davenport
United States Corina Morariu
6–3, 6–4
Runner-up 2005 Wimbledon Grass France Amélie Mauresmo Zimbabwe Cara Black
South Africa Liezel Huber
6–2, 6–1
Winner 2012 Australian Open Hard Russia Vera Zvonareva Italy Sara Errani
Italy Roberta Vinci
5–7, 6–4, 6–3

Awards and nominations[edit]

2002
2005
2006
  • WTA Awards – Diamond Aces (won)[193]
2009

Records[edit]

Label Figure Position Notes Refs
WTA Prize money leaders (of all time) US$17,370,859 11 [197][198]
WTA Prize money leaders (active players) 6 [197]
Most singles matches won 492 10 [197]
Most singles titles won (active players) 13 6 [197]
Longest match in a Grand Slam in the Open Era by time played 4 hours and 44 minutes 1 against Francesca Schiavone [197]
Second-longest match in the Open Era by time played [197]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

General

Specific

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External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Slovakia Daniela Hantuchová
WTA Newcomer of the Year
2002
Succeeded by
Russia Maria Sharapova
Preceded by
Argentina María Emilia Salerni
ITF Junior World Champion
2001
Succeeded by
Czech Republic Barbora Strýcová