KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Svetlana Kuznetsova is back in the Key Biscayne final 10 years after she won the tournament.
Kuznetsova erased 12 of the 14 break points she faced and beat Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-3 Thursday in the semifinals of the Miami Open.
The 30-year-old Kuznetsova’s opponent Saturday will be the winner of the semifinal Thursday night between No. 2-seeded Angelique Kerber and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka, who is seeded 13th.
Kuznetsova hadn’t enjoyed much success at Key Biscayne in recent years, but she upset eight-time champion Serena Williams in the fourth round and won four consecutive three-setters to reach the semifinals. At No. 19, the Russian is the lowest-ranked women’s finalist in the event since No. 38 Kim Clijsters earned the 2005 championship.
“I’m happy I could hang in there,” Kuznetsova said. “I haven’t been feeling my best, but I’ve been fighting with every ball and trying to run as much as I could.”
If Kuznetsova wins the title, she’ll return to the top 10 for the first time since 2010. She’s already assured of surpassing $20 million in career prize money.
On a sunny, sweltering afternoon, Kuznetsova earned the first break of her semifinal in the 10th game to take the grueling, 65-minute first set. She broke three consecutive times in the second set to pull away from the No. 19-seeded Bacsinszky.
“I was playing to finish it in two sets so I have a little bit of time to rest,” Kuznetsova said.
American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, who turned 38 this week, lost in the semifinals of doubles to Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, 6-3, 6-3. The Bryans hold a record 16 Grand Slam titles but haven’t won a tournament since August.