Comeback victories for Kuznetsova, Pliskova

The WTA Finals kicked off in Singapore on Monday with two impressive comeback wins for Svetlana Kuznetsova and Karolina Pliskova in the White Group.

Kuznetsova’s victory over defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska came courtesy of a superb fightback in the third set, as she saved match point before prevailing 7-5, 1-6, 7-5.

The Russian proved an exceptionally tenacious opponent throughout the nearly-three-hour-long contest.

She fought back from 1-4 down to snatch two late breaks and claim the first set, and then after being totally outplayed in a one-sided second set, she again mounted a comeback from 2-4 down in the third.

Bizarrely, her fightback during the third set appeared to have been spurred on by a decision to cut off a piece of her ponytail in a fit of frustration and anger during one of the changeovers:

With Radwanska serving at 4-3, a break up in the decider, Kuznetsova piled on the pressure to earn five break points, finally succeeding on her fifth opportunity.

Radwanska got the break back immediately and had a chance to close out the contest, but Kuznetsova saved match point before going on to find another break and holding serve to lead 6-5.

Radwanska was now serving to stay in the match, but it was Kuznetsova who seized her chance, earning three match points and clinching the third to secure a valuable victory.

“Sometimes it’s not easy, and sometimes you’re pulling through. I put aside that I’m tired, put aside the emotions, the jet lag – I didn’t want to think about it,” an emotional Kuznetsova said after the match. “We came here to fight, let’s put everything else to one side.”

Pliskova, meanwhile, defeated French Open champion Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 7-5 in the evening’s second match, and her victory also came courtesy of a remarkable comeback in the third set.

The Czech appeared down and out after seeing all her good work in the first set undone by her opponent.

Muguruza hit back from a set down to take the second set in a tie-break, and then found herself leading 5-2 in the third.

But with the finish line in sight, the Spaniard’s challenge faltered, and Pliskova was able to claim no less than three successive breaks, winning the last five games in a row to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Muguruza was left shell-shocked, and her frustration was evident at times during the match: