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2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova rises 41 spots in the rankings to return to the top 100 at No.87 this week after winning her second Citi Open title, but her rise is too late for the U.S. Open rankings cutoff which leaves Kuznetsova hoping for a main draw wild card into the event.

“I’m praying to get a wild card for U.S. Open because so far I’m into the qualies. I would love to play main draw and hopefully I will be lucky enough to get one, but we’ll see,” she said.

Kuznetsova dropped from inside the Top 70 to 128 after Wimbledon when she didn’t defend her quarterfinal points at Eastbourne or SW19.

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The 33-year-old is just finally finding her form after making her return from off-season wrist surgery this spring. It has taken her time—no surprise to anybody who has seen other pros attempt to return from similar surgeries (see Juan Martin del Potro).

“I’ve done it many times, coming back, but sometimes I felt like low on motivation because you work, work, work and you don’t succeed and you work, work, work and then you still have pain,” she told reporters after saving four match points to defeat Donna Vekic 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2. “I think I also did some bad decisions, but for me it was first time learning from surgery. My doctor who did the surgery told me ‘You should be ready for clay,’ and I was trying to get ready for Indian Wells and Miami and I was not ready.”

After reeling off five consecutive wins Kuznetsova has improved her record to 9-10 on the season. She has also demonstrated that she’s in good enough form to deserve a wild card—something that is more important than past results to the major tournaments that are tasked with these difficult decisions.

For now the Russian will return to Miami to practice, because she missed the Rogers Cup qualifying due to her run in D.C., and then play Cincinnati, where she has received a wild card. A few more wins there and it might become difficult for the U.S. Open to turn her down.

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