Defending champion Julia Goerges became the first player to reach the semifinal in Zhuhai after defeating her Belgian adversary Elise Mertens in straight sets.
Goerges started her match against Mertens on a confident note after saving two break points in the very first game. Thereafter, the German stepped her game up a notch and got the first break at 3-2. After retaining her service, she broke Mertens once again to eventually take the first set with 6-2.
In the second set, however, Mertens appeared to be far more determined. The reigning Ladies Open Lugano champion got a break early in the set to subsequently take a 3-1 lead. However, the German on her part did very well to not give another break to Mertens.
Eventually, Goerges finally managed to break Mertens’ service and get back in the set. At 6-5, the World No. 14 had three match points to take the match but her opponent fought very well to save those three points. The game then moved to a tiebreaker where the Belgian fought valiantly but ended up losing the match.
With Goerges through to the next round, there are three spots remaining in the semifinals. There are several players in contention right, including the likes of Garbine Muguruza, the current Wuhan Open champion Aryna Sabalenka, Madison Keys, Anastasija Sevastova, and the top seed Daria Kasatkina.
All the aforementioned players have had a decent run in the WTA Elite Trophy so far. Sevastova and Muguruza both defeated Shuai Zhang in the Camellia Group and the top players will compete on Friday for a spot in the semis. Muguruza hasn’t had the best of 2018, having been ousted in the second rounds at three of the four Grand Slams after having won two majors in the last two years.
Similarly, we will also see Sabalenka go head to head against Caroline Garcia in the Orchid Group. It will be a must-win match for Garcia, who lost her opener to Ashleigh Barty on Thursday.
In the Azalea Group, we will see Keys face Wang Qiang to decide who moves into the semis.