It was an exciting day at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, with Naomi Osaka withdrawing from the event to let Keki Bertens in as an alternate, with the Dutchwoman defeating world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty to stay in contention for the semi-final.
All four players from Red Group will have the opportunity to qualify on Thursday after a victory from the WTA Finals debutant Belinda Bencic over Petra Kvitova. The Swiss scored a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 win in an hour and 47 minutes for the second triumph over the Czech is six encounters, both in 2019, taking four points less than Petra due to that one-sided second set but delivering three breaks in the decider to cross the finish line first.
Petra provided better numbers behind the first serve while Belinda stayed more focused on the second, with five breaks for each and thrilling battle until the closing stages of the final set when the younger player earned her win.
Both players had more unforced errors than winners and we have to give credit to Bencic who was under a lot of pressure in the final set after a terrible performance in the second. Belinda made the best possible start, serving well in the opener and earning breaks in games seven and nine for a 6-3 after a double fault from Petra.
The Czech had to raise her level in set number two and did that in style, delivering three breaks for a 6-1 in less than 30 minutes to gather the momentum ahead of the final set. There, they traded four breaks in a row to stay locked up at 4-4 after Belinda saved a break point in that eighth game with a service winner, building confidence and breaking Kvitova in the next game with a return winner that pushed her closer to the finish line.
Serving for the victory at 5-4, Bencic fired another service winner to earn her first win at the WTA Finals and stay in the hunt for the semi-final spot in her breakthrough season.