Wuhan - Dominika Cibulkova defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova on
Friday to book her place in the Wuhan Open finals, signalling an impressive
return to form after being sidelined by injury.
The Slovak – who has spent more than six hours on court in
the last two days – rallied from one set down to beat the double Grand Slam
champion 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Rain delays meant that Cibulkova played both her fourth
round and quarter-finals matches on Thursday, claiming the scalp of US Open
finalist Karolina Pliskova en route.
Her strong run at Wuhan marks an impressive return for the
27-year-old who missed four months of the season in 2015 after having surgery
on her left foot.
A left calf injury also forced her to withdraw from the Rio
"It's never easy to come back after injury, especially
when your ranking drops," said Cibulkova after the match.
But she has reached five finals this year and the
quarterfinals at Wimbledon, and is now just points away from qualifying for the
eight-player WTA Finals in Singapore for the first time.
"I'm a good player, I can beat top players. But I was
missing consistency in my game. This is the first year that I'm really
consistent playing the whole year," the Slovak said.
Despite the semi-final loss, 31-year-old Kuznetsova - who
reached world No 2 in 2007 - is enjoying a late-career resurgence and will
likely reach her highest ranking in six years when next week's leaderboard is
"I lost little bit my way when I got broken in second
set because I felt like I was on top of the game after I won first set,"
Kuznetsova told reporters after the match.
Simona Halep - who is yet to drop a set at Wuhan this week -
faces double Wimbledon winner and Olympic bronze medallist Petra Kvitova in the
second semi-final later on Friday.