WTA Moscow: Final Prediction


WTA Moscow: Will Svetlana put a stop to Anastasia’s streak?

The final has been set at the 2015 Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Russia.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will play Svetlana Kuznetsova! Did I predict this? Find out here!

Here’s my prediction as to who will win the title.


(31/-) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs (32/-) Svetlana Kuznetsova

Pavlyuchenkova is looking to win her second title in as many weeks after taking home the trophy in Linz. The Russian has turned her season around post Wimbledon, reaching the semi finals in Baku, the final at Washington DC, the quarter finals in Cincinnati and accounted for Flavia Pennetta en route to the quarter finals in Beijing. Despite losing to Sloane Stephens in Washington DC, Pavlyuchenkova has a strong record in finals, winning eight of the twelve she’s contested to date, including two at the Premier level.

Considering her title run last week, it’s no surprise that the 24 year old has struggled physically in reaching the final here. At times, she’s appeared jaded and unlikely to continue but has demonstrate incredible fighting qualities to overcome some challenging situations. Three times this week she’s been pushed to three sets, eventually out-hitting Monica Niculescu 75 06 64 in the first round, (9/2) Lucie Safarova 61 67(2) 63 in the second and Darya Kasatkina 26 62 64 in the semis. During the latter, Pavlyuchenkova trailed a set and 0-2 only to suddenly regain her depth and weight of shot, seizing control of the situation from that point onwards.

And so Pavlyuchenkova’s indoor streak continues! For the past couple of years now, the former world number 13 has been unstoppable on indoor hard courts. Since losing the semi finals in Sofia 2013 to Simona Halep, Pavlyuchenkova has won nineteen successive matches on the surface, claiming titles at the Paris Indoors and right here in Moscow last year, as well as the aforementioned title in Linz last week. Now, Pavlyuchenkova stands to join Magdalena Maleeva and Anastasia Myskina as only the third woman to defend this title.  

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Kuznetsova reminds us every now and then that she still has it, reaching only her second final of the year after losing to Petra Kvitova on the clay at Madrid in May. Hampered by a leg injury all summer, the 30 year old didn’t even reach another quarter final until Guangzhou in late September but now finds herself in a position to win her first title since Washington DC in 2014. It may come as quite a surprise that a former two time Grand Slam champion has struggled as much as she has in finals throughout her career, winning ONLY fourteen of the thirty five she’s contested and none at the Premier level since San Diego in 2010!

In contrast to her opponent, Kuznetsova has had a relatively peaceful run into the final here. The former world number two hasn’t had to play a seed and has dropped just the one set against Anastasija Sevastova in the quarters, coming back to win 57 61 63. In the semi finals, she recovered from a 0-3 deficit to beat Lesia Tsurenko 62 64, using mixtures of pace and height to completely disrupt her flatter hitting opponent’s rhythm.

At last then, Kuznetsova finds herself into the final of her home event! Despite winning the doubles with Samantha Stosur in 2013, she failed to win either of the singles semi finals she’d contested here, losing to Serena Williams in 2007 and her doubles partner in 2013. This must have been so frustrating considering this is her eleventh appearance at the event and she’s so often done well here without winning the title, reaching the quarters or better on eight occasions, including her last six attempts.

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Kuznetsova dominates Pavlyuchenkova 3-1 in their head to head, winning the first three times the two played between 2009 and 2010. However, their latest and most relevant meeting occurred roughly three weeks ago in the first round at Wuhan. Pavlyuchenkova must have been striking the ball unbelievably well because she destroyed Kuznetsova 60 61!

I don’t think this meeting will be quite as straight forward for Pavlyuchenkova. For one, Kuznetsova is in much better match condition than she was then and in this tournament, she’s had the benefit of quicker matches. Pavlyuchenkova has had her right thigh strapped for some time now and I wonder how much energy she has left considering her nine match winning streak. If Kuznetsova can play as she did in the semis and neutralise her opponent’s flat hitting with mixtures of pace and height, she stands a good chance of winning the physical battle. But can she win the mental one? We all know that Kuznetsova can be frustratingly brittle at times and will definitely be nervous considering this her chance to finally win the Kremlin Cup. In contrast, Pavlyuchenkova has been a mental titan as of late, overcoming all kinds of hardship to find a way to continue winning indoors.

I predict that Pavlyuchenkova will try her hardest once again but ultimately fail to win her twentieth straight match on indoor hard courts. I think she’ll be left wanting physically against Kuznetsova, who is so much more of a natural athlete and will continue to bring an extra ball back. Either way, the winner will be the lowest ranked at the event since it became a Premier tournament back in 1997 (Tier 2 as it was then).

WTA Moscow: Final Prediction- Svetlana Kuznetsova

Next: WTA Moscow: Semi Final Predictions

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