Don’t rule out second WTA Finals comeback for Radwanska
So much attention was paid to Svetlana Kuznetsova’s mid-match haircut that it served to undermine the most impressive victory of the WTA Finals group stage to date.
The Russian veteran is only in Singapore due to Serena Williams’ absence, yet showed her eagerness to maximise the opportunity not just by sacrificing her ponytail but by beating the second seed and defending champion Angieszka Radwanska.
However, despite being the sole outsider to defeat one of the tournament’s top four in the opening batch of showdowns, it is difficult to see the season ending in triumph for the 31-year-old.
The world number nine has participated five times without sampling the knockout phase – indeed she has never won more than one contest at any edition – and is nowhere near her peak. Eight of her past 10 Grand Slam appearances ended in the first two rounds and the other two in the fourth.
Conversely, regardless of this loss to the lowest seed, Radwanska stands out as an intriguing winner bet at 6/1.
The artistic Pole was unflustered by the early setback, instead contributing to the haircut sideshow, and why would she be? After all, the world number three somehow recovered from being beaten in her initial two group encounters last autumn to take home the trophy.
Though still a youthful 27, nobody has more experience of this stage than Radwanska – indeed three of 2016’s field are debutants – and she has advanced to the semi-finals or beyond in three of the last four years. She is the lone past champion in the field, with Simona Halep the only other prior finalist.
It is also arguable that, despite being the eighth seed, Kuznetsova was the opponent who she had most reason to fear because the Shot of the Year prize hoarder has always struggled against the Russian, trailing 13-4 in their career head-to-head.
Radwanska has a losing record against just one other entrant, Garbine Muguruza, yet the Spaniard is in poor form, suffering six defeats in her last 12 matches, and Aga won their most recent collision 12 months ago in Singapore to reach the final.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.