Karolina Pliskova made it to the semi-finals of the Tianjin Open while much-fancied Aryna Sabalenka was sent packing in her last-eight encounter that was played on Friday.
The top seeded Pliskova needed three sets to win her match against Brit woman Katie Boulter, advancing after losing the first. She won 5-7, 6-0, 6-3 to give herself a solid chance of qualifying for the WTA Finals.
And meeting her in the semi-finals will be Timea Bacsinszky, who ended Sabalenka’s grand run winning 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5), ensuring that the Belarusian does not have a chance to qualify for the year-ending competition any more.
It also sent Bacsinszky in a tizzy as the Swiss reached her first ever WTA semi-finals since she had made it there in the 2017 edition of the French Open.
The other semi-final at Tianjin will be contested between Caroline Garcia and Hsieh Su-Wei, both of whom made it there in similar fashion. Both their quarter-final opponents, Petra Martic and Elise Mertens respectively, did not give them any fight and retired even before the match was over because of injuries.
Garcia was 6-2, 1-0 up in her match before her opponent threw in the towel while Su-Wei led 6-2, 4-0 before she was awarded the match in a similar manner. Garcia leads Su-Wei 2-0 on head to head and should start a favourite to win it and make it to the title-decider.
Five players have already made it to the WTA Finals including Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki, while four others are still in the race. These include Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina, Pliskova and Kiki Bertens.
Sabalenka had begun this tournament at Tianjin in the 10th spot in the rankings, about 600 points behind Bertens and her loss in the quarter-finals has ruled her out of the reckoning.
The WTA Finals will be played between October 22 and 28, in Singapore.