Svetlana Kuznetsova snipped off part of her braid with scissors during a changeover before going on to beat defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5, Monday at the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore. The sheared hair remained on her chair for the rest of the match.
Trailing 2-1 and down a break in the third set, Kuznetsova, without the benefit of a mirror, took scissors to the back of her head and chopped away. “It was bothering me a lot,” said the Russian, who asked the umpire to have scissors brought to the court. “When I was hitting forehands, every time I would hit a good shot it would hit my eye.”
She added: “I thought, ‘Okay, what’s more important now, my hair which I can let grow or the match?’”
Although it was an unusual sight for fans, Kuznetsova isn’t the first player to cut their hair on court.
Andy Murray cut the front of his hair during a defeat to Rafael Nadal at the year-ending 2015 ATP Finals in London. Boris Becker trimmed his bangs during a four-set Wimbledon semifinal win over Ivan Lendl in 1988.
Tomas Berdych’s chances of qualifying for the ATP Finals were dealt a blow as Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia defeated the 10th-ranked Czech, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-5, in the first round of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. Berdych held the eighth and final qualifying spot for the season-ending tournament coming into this event but could now be overtaken by David Goffin and Marin Cilic, who are both playing in Basel, Switzerland, this week.
Kei Nishikori made a winning return after three weeks out injured, beating Dusan Lajovic, 7-5, 6-1, in the first round of the Swiss Indoors tournament in Basel. Nishikori, who retired with a glute muscle injury at the recent Japan Open, got the prime match slot after the opening ceremony at Roger Federer’s hometown tournament which is missing the seven-time champion and Rafael Nadal, who both ended their seasons because of injury.