BEIJING, China -- The all-Czech squad of Andrea Sestini Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova booked their spot in the China Open semifinals on Friday, dispatching No.6 seeds María José Martínez Sánchez of Spain and Andrea Klepac of Slovenia, 6-3, 6-0, in a quarterfinal encounter.
Sestini Hlavackova and Strycova, the highest-seeded team remaining in the field at No.2, needed just 58 minutes to move into the final four after reeling off the last nine games in a row to complete the victory.
Their semifinal opponents were determined by the second quarterfinal of the day, where No.4 seeds Elise Mertens of Belgium and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands overcame the 5th-seeded duo of Nicole Melichar of the United States and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 3-6, [10-8].
Regardless of these results, all four of these teams have already clinched spots in the eight-team field at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, which was completely filled earlier in the week.
In the earlier quarterfinal, the first six games were competitive. Martínez Sánchez dropped her serve in the first game after she fired a backhand into the net on deciding point. The Czechs, however, also initially struggled on serve. Strycova erased four break points before holding for 2-0, but Sestini Hlavackova was not as lucky, blasting an overhead wide on deciding point to set them back on serve at 2-2.
Klepac, though, allowed the Czechs to reclaim their break and reach 4-3, after the Slovene ended consecutive points with forehand errors to drop her own serve. It was at this juncture where the Czechs started to back up their position in the seedings, as both Sestini Hlavackova and Strycova began to dominate in the forecourt.
At 5-3, Strycova punched a volley winner on the Czechs' second set point to break Martínez Sánchez and claim the one-set lead. The No.2 seeds had a good run of fortune on their opponents' first serves during the set, winning a stunning 60 percent of those points.
Sestini Hlavackova and Strycova raced through the second set, where they never faced a break point. Strycova finished the match with a putaway up at the net, as the Czech tandem claimed the final nine games to move into the semifinals.
Later, Mertens and Schuurs raced to a one-set lead in their quarterfinal, as last week's Wuhan champions claimed the opening frame without facing a break point. But Melichar and Peschke rebounded to level the match at one set apiece, after winning more than half of the Belgian/Dutch pair's service points in the second set.
During a closely contested match tiebreak, a powerful overhead by Schuurs at 8-8 gave her and Mertens their first match point, with Melichar to serve. There, a long rally with tremendous defense by both teams was ended by a forehand passing shot winner by Schuurs, sealing victory for her and Mertens after 84 minutes of play.