Second seed Caroline Garcia yesterday cruised past Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei 6-3, 6-4 in the Tianjin Open final four to move into her first final since lifting back-to-back titles in Wuhan and Beijing last year.
In the other semi-final, top seed Karolina Pliskova produced a ruthless display as she raced past Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky 6-2, 6-1.
Pliskova, who won the Pan Pacific Open last month, dropped just eight points on serve and broke Bacsinszky four times.
World No. 6 Pliskova, eighth in the Race to Singapore standings, is battling for one of the three spots in the season-ending WTA Finals starting on Sunday next week.
The 26-year-old Czech would improve her chances by claiming her third title of the season today.
“I know I have a good chance to get to Singapore between this week and next week as well,” former world No. 1 Pliskova said. “I think it was a pretty okay year for me and if I end it in Singapore it’s going to be amazing for me.”
HONG KONG OPEN
AFP, HONG KONG
Chinese No. 1 Wang Qiang yesterday wrapped up the biggest win of her season, after an overnight rain delay forced her to wait to claim victory over world No. 5 Elina Svitolina at the Hong Kong Open, then later defeated former world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 7-5 to book a place in the final.
She needed just 10 minutes on court to end the Ukrainian’s resistance, sealing the 6-2, 6-4 quarter-final win with an ace.
The Rome champion, who had been hoping to sew up qualification in Hong Kong for the WTA Finals, said that she was “fighter” and had come back on court believing he still had a chance.
“But in the end, [Wang] had the advantage. She had the confidence, definitely,” Svitolina said.
World No. 24 Wang grabbed headlines at the French Open with her straight-sets demolition of Venus Williams, offering a hint of what was to come, and later overcame Pliskova in Beijing and Wuhan.
China’s No. 2 Zhang Shuai will not feature in the singles today after she was dumped out by teenage Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska, who powered to a 7-5, 6-4 victory to reach her first WTA Tour final.
The 18-year-old appeared overwhelmed after the win, lying on her back in Centre Court to soak up the cheers.
“I was nervous from the first ball,” she said. “After match point I fell on the floor because I felt so relaxed, that was my instinct to go and lie because I needed to put it away, the emotions.
Novak Djokovic yesterday stormed past German Alexander Zverev 6-2, 6-1 to reach the Shanghai Masters final and claim the world No. 2 ranking from Roger Federer.
Second seed Djokovic, who could play the Swiss in today’s showpiece, did not face a break point en route to a 59-minute victory, as he extended his winning streak to 17 ATP matches.
“I did everything I intended to do on my end,” the 31-year-old Serb said. “It’s all working and it’s been a couple of perfect matches. There’s a lot of positives to take from my matches this week.”
Djokovic knows a fourth Shanghai title would help him trim Rafa Nadal’s lead at the top of the rankings, with the Spaniard skipping the Asian swing to recover from a knee injury.
Djokovic is to play either top seed Federer or Croatian Borna Coric in the final.
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