Few people expected Dominika Cibulkova to have enough left in the tank after playing two matches yesterday at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, but the Slovak showed us her superb determination and attitude yet again, rallying to beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6 6-3 6-4 for her fifth Top 10 win this season and fifth WTA final of 2016.
After splitting the first two sets with equal scores, the players left the third set absolutely tight until the very end. Both Cibulkova and Kuznetsova firmly held on to their serves, even though the tenth-seeded Cibulkova did seem to have the upper hand, only without materializing it in the score.
The match went with serve all the way to Cibulkova's 5-4 lead, when the Slovak raced away with a love break and defeated the ninth-seeded Kuznetsova for the fifth time in their eight career meetings. With two hours and 35 minutes, Friday's Wuhan semifinal is the longest match played between Cibulkova and Kuznetsova.
Cibulkova's winners-to-unforced-errors differential was +13, while Kuznetsova's was also positive, but much more modest, +2.
The 27-year-old Cibulkova's opponent in the big Wuhan final will Petra Kvitova, who continued her reign in the Chinese city by demolishing Simona Halep 6-1 6-2.