After displaying impressive signs throughout the week, Belinda Bencic and Alison Riske overcame their final respective obstacles to secure entry into their first ever WTA Final. Both competitors will meet for the first time on Sunday afternoon and will also be taking part in their first championships match-up.
Third seed Belinda Bencic got past local favourite and US Open semi-finalist Peng Shuai when the second seed was forced to retire early on during the match with a back injury. The retirement placed Bencic in her first ever WTA final on the tour, after her previous best result was a semi-final showing in Charleston.
“I’m really happy to be in the final here,” Bencic said. “It’s bad luck for her that she had to retire, but it changed nothing on my side of the net – I feel like I’m playing really well here in Tianjin.
“It’s my last tournament of the season, and I will try to play a good final tomorrow!”
Sixth seed Alison Riske also overcame a local favourite to edge herself closer to her first ever WTA title. The American demolished Zheng Saisai and ended her impressive run with a 6-0-6-1 score to arrive in the final with a surge in momentum. This is undoubtedly Riske’s best showing on a hard court, with her previous two semi-final appearances taking place on grass.
“I’m really excited to be in my first WTA final,” Riske said. “Obviously the job’s not done yet, but I’m really proud of the work that’s been put into it, and hopefully tomorrow brings another good day.”
This marks just the first time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour and will likely produce a compelling battle between two young, capable athletes on the tour.
Prediction: Belinda Bencic in Three Sets