Muguruza rallies past Kuznetsova for consolation win
By John O'Brien
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Garbine Muguruza ended her WTA Finals campaign with a 3-6 6-0 6-1 consolation victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova on Friday, the Spaniard rallying from a slow start to blow away her Russian opponent.
Despite her defeat, the 31-year-old Kuznetsova still won the White Group after round robin wins over defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska and Karolina Pliskova, the Russian advancing to face Dominika Cibulkova in Saturday's semi-finals.
Poland's Radwanska and big-hitting Czech Pliskova meet in the group finale later on Friday with the winner going on to face world number one Angelique Kerber in the second semi-final.
Kuznetsova started her previous two matches slowly but she was quick out of the blocks against Muguruza, breaking the Spaniard in the third game to move ahead before she repeated the feat in the ninth to wrap up the opener in 29 minutes.
The Russian had been fairly untroubled on her serve, not even taken to deuce in the opener, but her radar was off target at the start of the second set when a second double fault gifted Muguruza a break in the first game.
The French Open champion was suddenly back in the contest as Kuznetsova appeared to lose her range and focus, the tall Spaniard breaking twice more while holding comfortably to race through the set without dropping a game.
Muguruza carried the momentum into the decider, breaking immediately and staving off seven break points as Kuznetsova ran out of steam and her opponent ran away with the contest, the 23-year-old winning 11 of the last 12 games to seal victory.
(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)