Svetlana Aleksandrovna Kuznetsova (born June 27, 1985) is a Russian professional tennis player who is currently ranked World No. 4. She won the 2004 US Open singles title and was the runner-up in singles at the 2006 French Open and the 2007 US Open, losing both finals to Justine Henin in straight sets.
The surname Kuznetsova (feminine form for Kuznetsov) has the -tsov, -tsova syllable accented in Russian.
Kuznetsova was born in Leningrad. Her father Alexandr Kuznetsov has coached five Olympic and world cycling champions. Her father's protégés include her mother, Galina Tsareva, a six-time world champion and holder of 20 world records, and Svetlana’s brother, Nikolai Kuznetsov, a silver medalist at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Kuznetsova also tried out cycling in her early years, but it bored her. She focused on tennis instead and was sent to Spain when she was 13 years old for better training and coaching.
Playing Style & Tennis Career
Kuznetsova is a very good mover on court and plays mainly from the baseline. Her strongest shot is her heavy forehand, which many analysts and commentators point to as one of the very best in women's tennis. It can also break down tremendously in pressure situations. She can put lots of spin on the forehand wing or slice it away from her opponent. Her backhand is solid as well
Kuznetsova won her only Grand Slam singles title at the 2004 U.S. Open, where she defeated countrywoman Elena Dementieva in straight sets in an all-Russian final (the second in history after the Anastasia Myskina-Dementieva final at the French Open of the same year).
Kuznetsova is a frequent doubles player and has been ranked as high as third in the world (in June 2004). Kuznetsova teamed with Australia's Alicia Molik to win the 2005 Australian Open, defeating Americans Lindsay Davenport and Corina Morariu in the final. Kuznetsova has reached five other Grand Slam doubles finals, with Martina Navratilova, Elena Likhovtseva, and Amélie Mauresmo as her partners.
A year after winning the 2004 U.S. Open, Kuznetsova became the first female defending champion during the open era to lose in the first round. She lost to Ekaterina Bychkova.
After an 18-month title drought, Kuznetsova won the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Miami on April 1, 2006, beating Maria Sharapova 6–4, 6–3. At the French Open, Kuznetsova defeated 17 year old Czech Nicole Vaidisova in a semifinal 5–7, 7–6 (5), 6–2 but lost in the final to Justine Henin-Hardenne 6–4, 6–4.
At the 2006 Wimbledon tournament, Kuznetsova survived a second round match against Czech Kveta Peschke, 4–6, 6–1, 6–4, but lost in the third round to eventual quarterfinalist Li Na 3–6, 6–2, 6–3.
After a month lay off because of an abdominal injury, Kuznetsova returned to the tour at the Tier I Rogers Cup in Montreal. She lost a close two set match to Martina Hingis in a quarterfinal. At her next tournament, the Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven, Connecticut, Kuznetsova lost in a semifinal to eventual champion Henin-Hardenne.
At the 2006 U.S. Open, Kuznetsova reached the fourth round where she lost to Jelena Jankovic. Since then, Kuznetsova has won titles at the Tier III Wismilak International in Bali, beating Marion Bartoli in the final, and the Tier II China Open in Beijing, defeating Mauresmo in the final.
In 2007, Kuznetsova lost in the final of the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California to Slovakian Daniela Hantuchová 6–3, 6–4. Reaching the final improved her ranking to a career high of No. 3 in the world. In May, she reached the final of another Tier I tournament, the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, losing to Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in a very tight match; 3–6, 6–4, 7–6(4) after defeating World No. 1 Henin in a semifinal. Kuznetsova also reached the finals of Rome before losing to Jelena Jankovic of Serbia. Svetlana reached the quarterfinals, of the Wimbledon Championships but was taken out by no. 26 seed and 3 time champion, Venus Williams in straight sets, 6–3 6–4. Kuznetsova won the Pilot Pen Tennis event in preparation for the 2007 U.S. Open in bizarre circumstances. She led Francesca Schiavone 6–2 in the quarterfinal before she retired; Elena Dementieva 4–6, 6–3, 3–0 before she retired and was behind Agnes Szavay 4–6, 3–0 when she retired.
At the 2007 U.S. Open, Kuznetsova, wearing a red color, breezed through the first round defeating Klara Zakopalová 6–2, 6–3. With both second seeded Maria Sharapova, who was favored to reach the finals, and Kunznetsova at the bottom draw, the two were to meet in the semifinals, but due to Sharapova's shocking defeat in the third round to 30th seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, Kuznetsova became favored to reach the finals. She received a challenge from French player Camille Pin, who took Kuznetsova to a third set before losing the match 6–3, 4–6, 6–0. In the third round she once again got through fairly easily against Spanish player Anabel Medina Garrigues defeating her 6–3, 6–1. She got through into the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open by defeating Belarussian teen Victoria Azarenka. This marks the first time she has gone further than the Round of 16 since she won the event in 2004. Not content with this, she eased her way in to the semifinal by defeating Agnes Szavay 6–1, 6–4. Kuznetsova defeated Anna Chakvetadze, in what was said to be a disastrous match for Kuznetsova; she describes the first set as "embarrassing", in the semifinals of the US Open, 3–6, 6–1, 6–1. Kuznetsova was defeated by Justine Henin in the Final of the U.S. Open 6–1, 6–3, unable to shake her disastrous performance once again and return back to form. During the match, she made numerous unforced-errors, though the crowd cheered for her; as when Henin served, a spectator shouted out, forcing Henin to stop midway through the serve. As a result of her performance at the US Open, she rose to a career-high ranking of No.2 in the world.
Kuznetsova then went on to compete for Russia in the 2007 Fed Cup, winning both her rubbers and and in the process helping Russia to retain the cup.
After reaching the semi-finals in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Germany, losing to Tatiana Golovin 6–2, 6–4, she reached the semi-finals of the Kremlin Cup, her best finish at the principle Russian tournament on the WTA Tour.
At the Sony Ericsson Championships, Kuznetsova lost to Maria Sharapova 5–7, 6–2, 6–2, and Ana Ivanovic 6–1, 4–6, 7–5. Unfortunately, this means that she will not be going to the semi-finals at the Championships. This is her third time at the end-of-the-year championships and the third time she did not pass the round-robin stage. However, two fellow Russians (Anna Chakvetadze and Maria Sharapova) advanced to the semi-finals. Justine Henin and Ana Ivanovi? are the other semi-finalists.
In 2008, Kuznetsova lost the final in Sydney to World No. 1 Justine Henin, 4–6, 6–2, 6–4. She was the second-seed at the Australian Open but lost in third round to Polish teenager Agnieszka Radwanska, 6–3, 6–4. Currently, Kuznetsova is playing in the 2008 Pacific Life Open. There, she received a "bye" in the first round, before crushing Ekaterina Makarova 6–1, 6–1, Dominika Cibulková 6–1, 4–6, 6–3 in the third round, and Caroline Wozniacki, 6–2, 6–2 in the fourth round. In the quarterfinals, she avenged Radwa?ska for her win, defeating her 6–2, 6–4 in the quarterfinals. Then, Kuznetsova stunned Maria Sharapova in the semifinals, 6–3, 5–7, 6–2. Sharapova had not lost during the 2008 season until that point. In the final, Kuznetsova faced top seed Ana Ivanovic. She lost the final 6-4, 6-3.
Record against top players
Kuznetsova, as of April 28, 2008, has a 1–6 record against Kim Clijsters, a 2-16 record against Justine Henin, a 4–4 record against Maria Sharapova, a 4–4 record against Amelie Mauresmo, a 2–2 record against Martina Hingis, a 2–3 record against Lindsay Davenport, a 0–1 record against Jennifer Capriati, a 4–3 record against Venus Williams, a 1–4 record against Serena Williams, a 1–0 record against Mary Pierce a 3–2 record against Jelena Jankovic, a 3–1 record against Nadia Petrova, a 5–4 record against Elena Dementieva, a 2–4 record against Anastasia Myskina, and a 1–5 record against Ana Ivanovic.