MOSCOW — With Serena Williams’ decision to withdraw from next week’s WTA Finals, the final spot in the year-end tournament will be decided in Moscow.
Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia and Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain each know that winning the Kremlin Cup will guarantee a place at the eight-player finals in Singapore.
If neither Kuznetsova nor Suarez Navarro wins, the final spot stays with Britain’s Johanna Konta, who isn’t playing this week as she tries to shake off an abdominal strain.
Suarez Navarro is happy to have her destiny in her own hands as she aims for her first career finals appearance in singles.
“Sometimes at the end of the season, people are looking at other people, at other results, but it’s not my case,” she said Tuesday. “Now it all depends on me. I think it’s much better.”
Kuznetsova is already assured of her best year-end ranking since 2009 and is aiming to defend her Moscow title in front of a home crowd.
“If I can win the tournament it would be wonderful, great, and everything I’m wishing for, but I don’t want to look that far ahead,” she said.
Both Kuznetsova and Suarez Navarro have first-round byes in Moscow. The Russian will start Wednesday against either France’s Alize Cornet, while Suarez Navarro faces a tricky match against Russian-born Australian Daria Gavrilova.
Williams, a 22-time Grand Slam singles champion, announced her withdrawal from the WTA Finals on Monday, citing a right shoulder injury. It’s the second year in a row she will miss the finals.