Svetlana Kuznetsova hacks off hair and cries during win over Agnieszka Radwanska
By Andy Charles
Last Updated: 25/10/16 8:16am
Svetlana Kuznetsova opened her WTA Finals account in bizarre fashion with a three-set win over Agnieszka Radwanska in Singapore.
Kuznetsova, who qualified for the season-ending tournament by retaining her Kremlin Cup crown on Saturday, beat the Pole 7-5 1-6 7-5 in a stamina-sapping match, but it was her behaviour in the deciding set that stole the show.
She had struggled badly in the second set at the second-ranked Radwanska levelled the match, and spectators watched in stunned silence early in the decider when she pulled a pair of scissors out of her bag and started to chop off the end of her ponytail.
Kuznetsova threw the loose strands of hair on to her seat and proceeded to play a couple of games before coming off court, bursting into tears and sobbing into her towel, appearing to be on the verge of exhaustion.
"It was bothering me a lot. I was trying to put it behind my headband but my hair is very thick and heavy," she said.
"Every time when I was hitting good forehands and coming forward, it would hit my eye and I struggled. So I thought 'Okay, what's more important now, my hair which I can let grow or the match? Okay, I got to go for it right now' and that's it.
"I was just trying to give myself the best chance and remove what was bothering me. At the time, I don't even know how much I cut there."
Somehow she managed to regain her composure but Radwanska broke her serve in the ninth game to lead 5-4 and served for the match, wasting a match point before being broken back.
And Kuznetsova won the next two games as well to secure victory in a rollercoaster match that lasted for more than three hours.
"At some point I was just ready to lie on the court and let them take me out of here. But I kept at it," Kuznetsova said.
The second game in the White Group ended in a similarly long three set win for Karolina Pliskova over Garbine Muguruza.
Pliskova also saved a match point on her way to a 6-2 6-7 7-5 win over the Spaniard, and she won seven of the last eight games played after trailing 4-0 in the deciding set.