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.
MONACO — Dominic Thiem saved a match point and beat Andrey Rublev of Russia 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.
Rublev was serving for the match at 5-4, 40-30 but hit a forehand narrowly wide. Fifth-seeded Thiem broke him with backhand pass down the line and held for 6-5.
The Austrian was 15-40 up on Rublev’s serve and clinched victory on his first match point, when Rublev double-faulted with a weak serve into the net.
“I was 10 centimeters from being out of the tournament,” a relieved Thiem said. “But I’m happy that I played two hours and 40 (minutes).”
Thiem has reached the French Open semifinals for the past two years. He next meets 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic or Borna Coric of Croatia, who play their second-round match on Wednesday.
“I’m looking forward to watching Djokovic and Coric in front of the TV, and then playing the winner on Thursday,” Thiem said.
In the second round later Tuesday, fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria faced Pierre-Hugues Herbert and seventh-seeded Lucas Pouille played Mischa Zverev.
In remaining first-round play, there were wins for Gilles Simon of France, Marco Cecchinato of Italy and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.
MONACO — Jared Donaldson has been fined $6,200 for unsportsmanlike conduct after angrily ranting at the chair umpire during his first-round loss to Albert Ramos-Vinolas at the Monte Carlo Masters.
The American became irate with a call when Ramos-Vinolas was serving at 3-2, 40-0 in the second set on Monday. Donaldson thought the serve was out and pointed to the ground, shouting, “There’s a mark right here,” and then screaming the same words in the face of French umpire Arnaud Gabas.
He then squared up to Gabas and shouted: “Yes it is, yeah it is,” as he insisted his mark was right and the umpire’s call of in was wrong.
Donaldson, who yelled again at Gabas before the supervisor came on, received a code violation. He lost 6-3, 6-3.