Women’s Final: [CR25] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) vs. [CR94] Monica Puig (PUR)
Kuznetsova has started her 2016 season off with a bang and will be a force to be reckoned with at the Australian Open. After defeating the number two ranked player, Simona Halep, in the semifinals; she crushed Puig in the final, 6-0, 6-2. Puig avoided the double bagel, but she never got into the match. After her dominant display in her match against the crafty and talented Belinda Bencic, I expected her to give Kuznetsova more of a challenge in this final. Perhaps fatigue and the magnitude of the occasion destroyed her game. Despite the loss though, Puig should take the positives from this tournament going into the Australian Open. This runner-up performance could jump-start her 2016 season because she has the weapons to win more than one singles title.
Kuznetsova put her off-season to great use and appears leaner and fitter. The benefits showed as she played two matches today and still looked fresh after the second one, which by the way was a final. This is the sharpest I have seen Kuznetsova in a long time and it does not bode well for the opponents in her quarter of the draw at the Australian Open. No doubt everyone has taken notice of her performance at this tournament. Kuznetsova has re-discovered her form, aided by her confidence in her physical fitness, she played like the US and French Open champion that she is. The link between body-mind-game for these tennis players continues to be demonstrated almost daily. How far will Kuznetsova go in the first Major of the season? This may be a great opportunity for her as the number 1, 5 and 12 seeds are coming into the Australian Open with recent injuries.