TIANJIN, China - Top seed Karolina Pliskova needed exactly an hour to book a spot in the final of the Tianjin Open on Saturday, defeating Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky, 6-2, 6-1.
The Czech's hopes of qualifying for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global are improved with her run in China this week, coupled with a second-round loss for Kiki Bertens at the Upper Austria Ladies' Linz.
Pliskova currently sits in the eighth qualifying position for Singapore, but could capture her third title of the season and second in Asia should she score a fifth victory of the week on Sunday against either Caroline Garcia or Hsieh Su-wei.
The World No.6 dropped just eight points on serve and broke Bacsinszky four times to score a fourth consecutive win over the former Top 10 Swiss in the past two years.
"I felt good today. I quite like her game, and I just had the match under control. I know she can play better than she played today, but I was just worried about myself," Pliskova said. "It was pretty fast today...but she was a little bit tired because she had a long match yesterday."
A resurgent week for Bacsinszky saw the former World No.9 upset No.4 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the quarterfinals, knocking the Belarusian out of Singapore contention, but she proved unable to gain traction to push Pliskova into a third three-setter in four matches this week.
From 2-2 in the opening set, the Czech ran off the last four games, and made it seven straight to her side of the scoreboard by winning the first three of the second set as well.
Despite only serving one ace, Pliskova's serve was impeccable from start to finish, as she lost just four points behind it in each set and landed 73 percent of first serves for the match.
Pliskova has now reached the semifinals or better in two appearances in Tianjin, falling in the semifinals of her tournament debut in 2015.
"I remember I lost to [Agnieszka] Radwanska at the time, and she won the tournament. I'm happy that I'm in the finals for the first time. I'm enjoying my week here and my stay here. I had good matches here. There is the last match tomorrow, so I'll just try my best to get the trophy, to get the title," Pliskova said.
"I know I have a good chance to get to Singapore between this week and next week as well. I think it was a pretty okay year for me, and if I end it in Singapore, it's going to be amazing for me. It's always a goal...so hopefully, I can end there."