Svetlana Kuznetsova: Russian rolls back years to reach WTA semis

    Svetlana Kuznetsova celebrates after beating Karolina Pliskova in three sets in Singapore.

    Story highlights

    • Kuznetsova reaches first WTA semi-finals
    • Russian back in top 10 after six years
    • Muguruza eliminated after second loss

    London (CNN)Svetlana Kuznetsova just keeps getting better with age.

    The oldest player at the WTA Finals at 31 years of age, the Russian, who didn't qualify for the event until Saturday and had to fly 5,000 miles from Moscow to reach Singapore, once again came back from the brink against a younger rival.
      Having saved a match point in a dramatic victory over defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska in her opening match, Kuznetsova dismantled the booming serves of US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 in the white group on Tuesday in Singapore.
      "From my heart," the ninth-ranked Kuznetsova said in a court-side interview, when asked to explain her resurgence this season.
      A few hours later, Kuznetsova qualified for her first WTA semifinals after Radwanska ousted French Open winner Garbine Muguruza from the group stages with a 7-6, 6-3 win.
      WTA Finals format

      •round-robin format

      •top eight players in rankings are divided into two groups

      •each player faces the three others in the group

      •top two in each section qualify for knockout semi-finals

      "I have not been at my best these past years, but something has changed this year and I just enjoy my game, I enjoy the crowd and I enjoy playing the best players in the world," said Kuznetsova, a 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open winner who is now back in the top 10 for the first time in six years.

      'Here to fight'

      A physically exhausted Kuznetsova, a former world No. 2, sent social media into overdrive two days ago when she cut off part of her ponytail as she trailed Radwanska in the final set.
      Kuznetsova ended up beating the Pole from a match point down, just 48 hours after qualifying for Singapore at the last-minute following her Kremlin Cup win.