After many predicted that the top seeds would work their way to the final, it appears only one was able to reach the final match of the tournament, as Simona Halep will meet eighth seed Timea Bacsinszky to determine who will lift the Shenzhen title on Saturday. This is just the second time that these two competitors will cross paths on the WTA tour, with Halep leading the head to head series 1-0.
As the top seed at the event, Simona Halep was the first to advance to the tournament final with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over the last remaining Chinese competitors at the event, Zheng Saisai. The contest lasted one hour and 26 minutes and saw Halep win 68% of her first service points and save four of six break points she faced on serve. The Romanian’s difficulty and low stats were due to Zheng’s improved performance in the second set.
“It was a tough match – she played really well in the second set,” Halep said. “I was a little bit nervous, but I stayed focused and it worked very well for me because I was able to come back.
“It’s difficult to play someone for the first time, but I think I did a good job today.”
While many expected Czech No. 1 Petra Kvitova to cruise into the final of the event, she was upset in straight sets by the tournament’s eighth seed Timea Bacsinszky 6-4, 6-4. She was simply unable to find a way through Timea’s defence on court and only managed one break of serve, while allowing herself to get broken three times during the encounter.
For Timea, a player who had dropped past No. 230 in 2014 and worked her way back to the Top 50, looked ecstatic with her win over a gracious Kvitova.
“Timea played really well,” Kvitova said. “She has a really great backhand. Her forehand has more topspin, which is a little bit different. She served well in the important points too.”
This is just the second time that Halep and Timea cross paths on the professional tour, with the Romanian leading the series 1-0 with a victory in Belgium nearly five years ago. Given Timea’s upset win over Kvitova, one should not underestimate her game against Halep, who has not played her best tennis this week in Shenzhen. While the Romanian still deserves the advantage, this could potentially head to a deciding set.
Prediction: Simona Halep in Three Sets