Simona Halep cruised past a WTA Rising Star but a resurgent Swiss took out Petra Kvitova for the equal-biggest win of her career at the Shenzhen Open on Friday.
WTA Staff

SHENZHEN, China - Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova took on a pair of talented semifinal opponents in the semifinals of the Shenzhen Open on Friday, but only one survived through to the final.

Halep, the tournament's No.1 seed, was the first of the two to take the court, and she was the one who survived through to the final, dispatching WTA Rising Star Zheng Saisai in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3.

"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."

Zheng is one of the fastest-rising WTA Rising Stars out there at the moment - Halep was asked why.

"She's hitting well with her forehand and she has a good slice, and she's moving well - she's very fast like a lot of the Chinese players," Halep commented. "I think she will be a very good player."

The No.2-seeded Kvitova followed Halep onto center court but wasn't as successful as the Romanian, falling to No.8 seed Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. Bacsinszky was devastating on serve - she held nine of her 10 service games, and in the one game she lost she was originally up 40-15. Meanwhile, Kvitova seemed to be struggling on her serve, getting broken three times in the match.

"Timea played really well," a gracious 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.

"She played really well. She definitely did what she had to do to beat me today."

Bacsinszky's win over the No.4-ranked Kvitova is the equal-biggest win of her career. She took out a No.4-ranked Maria Sharapova in the early rounds of Wuhan, also on Chinese soil, last fall.

It has been a long road back for Bacsinszky, who peaked at No.37 in the world back in 2010 but who went as low as No.578 in 2012 after a series of nagging injuries and struggling to grind her way back up. But grinding is just what she's done recently - she went into 2014 ranked No.237 and is currently at No.47. Could her results in Shenzhen this week push her back towards her career-high?

Halep beat Bacsinszky in their only previous meeting, though it was all the way back in 2010.

Also, there will be a very noteworthy name in attendance on Saturday. Li Na, who won the first two editions of the Shenzhen Open in 2013 and 2014, will be a guest of honor of the tournament on Finals Day, helping out with the coin toss and signing autographs for fans in the tournament village.