The first of the two semi-finals on Friday afternoon in Wuhan is between Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova and Rising WTA Star Elina Svitolina. The young Ukranian already holds a hard court win over Kvitova in their only previous meet, and will be looking to make it 2-0 against the world No. 3.
The first to advance on Thursday afternoon, Petra Kvitova defeated an inspired Frenchwoman in Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-4. Kvitova struck 4 aces and won 79% of her first service points to close out the match in 81 minutes. While Garcia cam in with wins over Radwanksa and Venus Williams, she was simply unable to maintain that level of consistency against the Czech native.
“I know Garcia had a great week here, that she beat Venus and Aga 7-6 in the third. You always have to be prepared for a fight,” Kvitova said. “I knew that she can play really well, and that she can serve well and play very aggressively from the baseline, so I knew that I had to be ready for her.
“It was quite humid and hot today, and I was really sweating a lot, but the court feels faster, which is something that probably suits my game a lot. And I’m serving well, so that’s helpful too.”
Now in a similar position as her fellow-semi-finalist Eugenie Bouchard, Kvitova is two matches away from potentially earning a coveted spot in the WTA Finals, yet she will have to get past Elina Svitolina first.
The world No. 34 earned the biggest upset of the day in Wuhan when she ousted Angelique Kerber in the quarter-final stage of the tournament, 6-4, 7-6(3). Svitolina saved six break points and converted five of her own to defeat the German No. 1 in exactly 100 minutes.
The only other time that Kvitova and Svitolina crossed paths on the professional tour was in in Cincinnati several months ago – a contest that the Ukrainian won in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6(2). Kvitova will be looking to avenge that loss as she attempts to secure one of the five remaining spots in the WTA Finals.
Prediction: Petra Kvitova in Three Sets