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Kuznetsova vs Bacsinszky WTA Lugano Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Kuznetsova continues comeback trail against Bacsinszky in Lugano

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 11 Apr 2019
  • Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Timea Bacsinszky is live from Lugano from 2:00pm local time/ 1:00pm BST on Thursday
  • Kuznetsova leads 4-0 on head-to-head
Svetlana Kuznetsova

Still very much on the comeback trail after a lengthy absence, former world No. 2, Svetlana Kuznetsova seeks a spot in the quarter finals of the Samsung Open in Lugano when she takes on fellow former top-ten star, Timea Bacsinszky on Thursday.

Playing her first match since a Round of 16 loss to Qiang Wang in Guangzhou last September, Kuznetsova took out sixth seed, Ekaterina Alexandrova 3-6 6-2 7-6, battling through obvious rustiness and a dangerous opponent to get her year off to a winning start.

The Russian had been sidelined with a knee injury for six-and-a-half months, and so, it was understandable when she took her time to get going on Monday. It was the younger Russian, Alexandrova, who made the better start, winning the last four games of the opening set to take the lead, but an improving Kuznetsova mirrored that effort in the second set, bagging four games in a row from 2-2 to claim the second set against an increasingly erratic opponent, and even the match. 

Kuznetsova led for most of the deciding set, and even served for the match at 5-4, but Alexandrova struck at the death restore parity, before forcing a tie break. Kuznetsova raced to a 6-2 lead as Alexandrova's game fell apart, but yet again, the two-time major winner had trouble closing out the match, failing to convert any of the four match points. She would not be denied though, as she won the next two points to secure victory after 2 hours and 22 minutes.

It wasn't the prettiest of matches, with Alexandrova donating 70 unforced errors, including 13 double faults, and Kuznetsova playing the cleaner game, offering 'just' 47 errors. Not that Kuznetsova would be too bothered by all of that- her priority surely must be to get as many wins under her belt, and build form, fitness and confidence after that lengthy spell of inactivity.

This is the second straight season that Kuznetsova has begun on the injury front, as she missed the first two months of 2018 after undergoing wrist surgery in late 2017. When she eventually got her 2018 season underway in March, she struggled badly for results, winning just four matches in her first 10 tournaments, and tumbling out of the top 100 in the rankings. However, almost out of nowhere, Kuznetsova claimed the Washington title in August, moving back into the top 100 as a result, but she played just three more tournaments after that before going away again with a knee problem.

Now ranked 109th in the world, can she find an extended spell of fitness and get that ranking moving in the right direction?

She has taken the first step by winning her comeback match against Alexandrova, now she seeks her second win of the year when she plays Timea Bacsinszky on Thursday?

Bacsinszky has also had her own injury worries- she missed the second half of 2017 after having hand surgery, and had spells on the ITF Tour in 2018 as she attempted to rebuild her ranking.

Bacsinszky first broke into the top-ten in mid-2015 after reaching the semi-finals of the French Open, and she hovered around that top-20 mark for the next few seasons, excelling especially on the clay of Roland Garros, where she made a second semi-final in 2017. Unfortunately, it wasn't long after that that the hand injury struck.

The Swiss played just two more tournaments in 2017- Eastbourne and Wimbledon- before disappearing from the tour. She wasn't seen again until February of the next year when she made her comeback in St. Petersburg. 

Bacsinszky lost nine straight matches after her comeback, including a couple on the ITF Tour, and had sunk to 761st in the world by July after missing Roland Garros and Wimbledon, but she finally started winning again in September, reaching an ITF final in Biarritz, and claiming a title in Nantes. In between, she contested a tour-level semi-final in Tianjin, all of which helped her to a year-end ranking of No. 191.

Given what she had been through in the last year and a half, Bacsinszky has been steady this season, reaching the quarter finals in Sydney, the third round at the Australian Open, and the Indian Wells 125K meet. She did not play the Premier Mandatory tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami.

Back on her beloved clay, Bacsinszky eased into the second round in Lugano with a 6-0 6-2 victory over Tamara Korpatsch, but things may get a lot more complicated when she takes on fellow clay-head, Kuznetsova on Thursday.

Interestingly, Kuznetsova has won all four previous meetings, but none of those matches has been on clay, and they haven't crossed paths since 2016. Kuznetsova, with her all-court prowess and supreme shot-making ability is arguably the better player, as suggested by her brilliant career and the head-to-head record, but this is only her second match in almost seven months. It's a big chance for Bacsinszky to break her duck against the Russian.

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Timea Bacsinszky is live from Lugano from 2:00pm local time/ 1:00pm BST on Thursday.

*Geo-restrictions apply. Streams available to customers with an active balance

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Kuznetsova vs Bacsinszky WTA Lugano Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Kuznetsova continues comeback trail against Bacsinszky in Lugano

Svetlana Kuznetsova continues her comeback from injury on Thursday when she plays Timea Bacsinszky in Lugano. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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