WTA Miami Open, 4th Round Preview for Monday: Serena Williams v Svetlana Kuznetsova


For the second straight year, Serena Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova will meet in the fourth round of the Miami Open on Sunday.

The number 15 seed, Kuznetsova edged out Caroline Garcia in third round action on Saturday, 4-6 6-2 7-6(6). Garcia had begun in glorious form, winning 94% of first serve points in the first set and dropping just three points on serve. Kuznetsova was pretty good also but Garcia turned the screw with scoreboard pressure up 5-4. As is unfortunately the case with Garcia, her level rarely stays stable for more than a set. Her almost-immaculate serve went off the rails with Kuznetsova breaking twice to win the second set, 6-2.

The third set was everything you would expect from this match-up and more! There were twists and turns in abundance and for the most part, the level was respectable. Kuznetsova led by a break on three occasions, including serving for the match at *5-4, but it went to the tiebreak. Garcia showed great intent throughout the entire match at serving big and coming forward but the forehand, which did produce some sparkling winners, was just too erratic. Kuznetsova missed two match points at 6-4 in the tiebreak but won the next two with two more missed forehands from Garcia.

Serena was made to work hard in her third round match, eventually coming through a tight two setter against Zarina Diays, 7-5 6-3. Diyas, who had won just four matches through eight tournaments heading into Miami, came out with an aggressive gameplan. She was broken in the first game, but broke straight back, hitting two return winners (one down-the-line, one cross-court) in that game. Diyas’s coach came on midway during the set to reiterate the point about being aggressive on second serve returns and to try and keep her position on the baseline.

Despite Diyas giving a good account of herself, Serena always had the upper hand. The world number had a few wobbles though, failing to serve out the first set at *5-4 and losing her double break midway through the second set. Serena eventually broke for the win, a solid test that lasted 92 minutes.

Head-to-head record: Serena leads Sveta, 8-2 in their head-to-head. However, Kuznetsova has always competed well in this match-up and four of their last six matches have gone to three sets. Their last match was in Miami at exactly the same stage of the tournament with Serena winning, 6-2 6-3.

Interesting stat: Aside from a 8-10 third set loss to Kiki Bertens in Fed Cup action, Kuznetsova has won her last five three set matches on the WTA tour.

Final thoughts: Serena-Sveta matches are always joyous. Chuck this match on clay and I think that Kuznetsova always stands more than a good shot of winning. Kuznetsova is one of these players that struggles early on but if she can get through a couple of rounds, transforms into almost a different player during the latter stages of a tournament (Note – Sydney). Serena has been a little wasteful so far this week, so three sets wouldn’t be a major surprise. Still, with Serena at home… Serena for the win.

Photo in this post by mootennis.com

12 thoughts on “WTA Miami Open, 4th Round Preview for Monday: Serena Williams v Svetlana Kuznetsova

  1. I say Serena in two sets – she put the three-set win over McHale behind her, demolished Diyas in two sets, and she has an 8-2 head-to-head lead over Kuznetsova. Plus, Miami is Serena’s second strongest tournament outside of the Grand Slams


  2. Judging from what we have seen from Serena so far coupled with a very valid point James made in his preview about Kuznetsova becoming “clutch” at the latter stages of tournaments, I expect Kuzzy to at least do better than Diyas, bringing us to the region of 2 tight sets or a possible 3 setter. Kuzzy is die-hard and will love the conditions!


  3. Another crystal ball going back to the shop I think! I had Serena down to win this tournament again…

    Well done Sveta anyway. This tournament looks wide open now, which for me is great; it’s much more interesting when you’ve got little or no idea about who’s going to come out on top in the end.


  4. It would be so Sveta if she went on to win this title. Or to lose badly in the next round LOL. I’m thrilled for her though.

    Not sure what to make of Serena though. Is this the beginning of the end or will she turn it on mid season as she’s done in the past…


    • Ha..Ha.. Svetlana was saying she is older now, so managing such feats is difficult. Serena chimed that she was getting too old for this. It does seem as though Svetlana has been around for forever.

      She could go on to win. I have might doubts that she would. It’s the encounters with Serena, like an old foe, brings out the best in her. Remember those marathon matches with the likes of Schiavone another oldie. These are her peers so to speak.

      One caveat, Serena isn’t getting down on herself after these losses, so far. Read into it what you may, but I think she’s preserving herself for the Slam Grande(s) or this is a new perspective after the USopen experience, so she let’s it come when it will. I think it is the former, given her dodgy knee. I guess time will tell. If I was playing her though, I’ll be a fool to take her for granted and rightly so, too much experience.


      • I just see doubt in the way Serena has played this year. Even her straight sets wins have contained odd breaks we werent seeing three years ago. I hope this isnt the beginning of the end. Id really like her to topple Graf’s record.


      • Serena played some great matches in Melbourne. Concerning loss this one in Miami but not sure I’d read too much into it just yet.


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