After an early loss in Linz, Belinda Bencic had one last chance to reach the WTA Finals in Moscow, ready to fight through the qualifying draw but entering the main action directly after some withdrawals. With no room for errors, the Swiss went all the way to win the title and move in front of Kiki Bertens and Serena Williams, crowning a fantastic year with the Shenzhen ticket.
There, Belinda is through to the semi-final after a 7-5, 1-0 win over an alternate Kiki Bertens who had to retire at the beginning of the second set, missing the opportunity to fight for the semi-final spot and propelling Belinda towards Elina Svitolina clash on Saturday.
The Dutchwoman was 5-3 up in the first set, delivering fury from the first serve and having the opportunity to close the set before Belinda bounced back, rattling off five straight games to steal the set and secure the place in the semis, as Bertens had nothing more left in the tank, competing in the final in Zhuhai last week.
Bencic wasted two break chances in the fourth game and got broken a few minutes later after netting a backhand. Serving for the set at 5-4, Kiki played a terrible drop shot to suffer a break in the worst possible moment, allowing Belinda to move 6-5 up and score another break in game 12 for a 7-5 after 53 minutes, holding at love with a service winner in the first game of the second set before Kiki decided to retire after consulting the doctor.
In the battle for the final, Belinda will have to overcome the defending champion Elina Svitolina, facing the Ukrainian for the fourth time and seeking the third victory, the second of the season after Dubai. Also, Belinda has moved in front of the Ukrainian on the WTA Live list ahead of the clash that could change that into Elina's favor again.