SHENZHEN, China - No.8 seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Demi Schuurs completed the doubles semifinal lineup at the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen by virtue of a victory in the final round-robin match of the tournament.
Facing a 'win and in' scenario entering Friday's final match, the German and Dutch duo defeated No.5 seeds Chan Hao-ching and Latisha Chan, 6-2, 6-4, to finish second in the Red Group, behind No.3 seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic.
"I think we executed our tactics really well. We played aggressive, and then we had a little letdown in the beginning of the second," Groenefeld said after the match.
"We refocused really well I think, and then it was a battle in the end. A few no-ad points, and we made the big points as well. I think it turned out pretty well, actually."
Entering Friday's play, the German and Dutchwoman could have been eliminated before they even took the court, with top seeds Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka holding qualification in their hands.
— Anna-Lena Groenefeld (@Annagroenefeld) November 1, 2019
A win for the US Open champions over Babos and Mladenovic would have seen them win the group, with the No.3 seeds finishing second, but Babos and Mladenovic rallied for a 4-6, 6-2, 10-5 victory to top the group undefeated.
The reigning French Open champions failed to win the opening set despite leading by a break twice, but won six of the last seven points in the ensuing match tiebreak nonetheless seal victory.
Mertens and Sabalenka could have reached the semifinals had the Chan sisters, already eliminated from contention, scored a victory over Groenefeld and Schuurs, but the No.8 seeds proved up to the task before them in just over an hour.
"Overall I think we played a really good match in the first match, we beat the top seeds.We were so happy about that win," Schuurs said.
"But also in the second match, we were so close, again, to a strong team, again. And today it was a battle. In the second set, some deuce points, but we won it in two sets. That was the most important, that we won. Now, we are just looking forward to tomorrow again."
After dominating the opening set, Groenefeld and Schuurs rallied from a double break down at 3-0 in the second set, and won the last three games from a further break down from then on, sealing victory as Latisha Chan served the sisters' fifth double fault of the match.
Having never won a match between them previously at the WTA Finals, the No.8 seeds will look to next dethrone Wimbledon champions and No.2 seeds Barbora Strycova and Hsieh Su-wei, winners of the Purple Group, in the semifinals.
"Of course it’s going to be a tough one, we’re expecting a battle," the German added. "We’ve played them a few times, we lost a nail-biter in Birmingham. Of course, we go out and we try our best, and we see what happens."