MOSCOW — Svetlana Kuznetsova secured the last spot at the WTA Finals in Singapore after defeating Daria Gavrilova of Australia 6-2, 6-1 Saturday to retain her Kremlin Cup title.
The top-seeded Russian saved six of the seven break points she faced and converted six of her eight opportunities to beat the 38th-ranked Gavrilova in 72 minutes.
The 22-year-old Gavrilova, who knocked out 2014 champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarterfinals, was seeking her first WTA title. Kuznetsova had already won 16.
The 31-year-old Kuznetsova, who was a fixture at the season-ending finals for much of her early 20s, hadn’t qualified since 2009, but she returns to take her place in the eight-player draw at the expense of Johanna Konta.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time former champion Victoria Azarenka has been awarded a wild card for the Australian Open.
Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, has been involved in a custody dispute involving her son Leo, who was born last Dec. 19.
She hasn’t competed anywhere since Wimbledon, where she lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10. The dispute with her former partner started shortly after Wimbledon ended.
Azarenka has played only six matches this year and is ranked 208th.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said on Wednesday that every assistance would be provided to the former No. 1, adding “Vika’s current situation is obviously very difficult for her and we have reached out to offer any support we can.”
The Australian Open starts on Jan. 15.
LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.
At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.
The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.
Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.
“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”