MOSCOW (AP) 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 or Shelby Rogers of the U.S., while Suarez Navarro faces a tricky match against either Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic or 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.
NEWPORT, R.I. — Top-seeded John Isner beat Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Sunday for his third Hall of Fame Open title.
The hard-serving American also won the grass-court event in 2011 and 2012. He has 11th career titles, all at the ATP World Tour 250 level.
“It’s hard to win a tournament,” Isner said. “It’s no small feat to come out here and be the last man standing. I’m very happy about that. It’s been two years since I won a tournament, so I had that weighing on my mind.”
Isner became the second player to win an ATP title without facing a break point since records began in 1991. Tommy Haas also accomplished the feat in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2007.
“I’m very happy with how I played all week,” Isner said. “It was a perfect week and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Ebden was playing his first tour-level final.
“It’s a lot of reward for a lot of hard work, a lot of years of sacrifice,” Ebden said. “It’s disappointing, but at the same time I have to be happy with my week.”
NEWPORT, R.I. — Andy Roddick says jokingly he can now keep Roger Federer from a unanimous selection for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
As a new inductee, Roddick gets to vote on future candidates. He jested ahead of his enshrinement on Saturday that he’ll use it to get back at Federer, who stood in his way during at least four Grand Slam finals.
Roddick joins inductees Kim Clijsters, six-time Paralympic medalist Monique Kalkman and journalist and historian Steve Flink. Tennis instructor and innovator Vic Braden was to be inducted posthumously.
Roddick won one Grand Slam and lost to Federer in the finals four times. He says he doesn’t ask himself what would have happened if he hadn’t come along at the same time of perhaps the greatest player.
He says the first text he got when he woke up Saturday was from Federer. Says Roddick: “He makes it extremely hard not to like him as a person.”