After all kind of troubles with visa, Svetlana Kuznetsova had reached the USA and drew the most from a wild card in Cincinnati, toppling the top seed Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 6-4 in 68 minutes for the 42nd WTA final, the first in a year.
Like in her best days, Svetlana held everything under control on both serve and return, facing only two break points and delivering four breaks for the place in the title match. They had a similar number of winners and it was Barty who sprayed almost 30 unforced errors, struggling to reach the semi-final and having nothing to challenge the more experienced rival today, missing the opportunity to regain world no.
1 spot from Naomi Osaka. Ashleigh had an early lead in the first set before fading from the court, returning only after giving serve away at the beginning of the second set as well, too late to change the things on the court against the rock-solid rival.
The Aussie grabbed the first break in the second game when Svetlana netted a backhand, only to lose the remaining six games and find herself 6-2 down. Kuznetsova bounced back immediately after that setback, breaking back in game three with a smash winner in game three and moving in front with another break at 2-2 when Ashleigh netted a backhand.
A return winner pushed the Russian 5-2 up, with Barty asking for a medical timeout for the right leg after that, losing the opener 6-2 after a hold at 15 for Svetlana after 30 minutes. Never finding the rhythm, Barty got broken in the first game of the second set as well and that proved to be the pivotal moment, taking only three points on the return in the entire set and allowing Svetlana to seal the deal with three winners in game ten for the spot in the title match.