ZHUHAI, China - Three of the four semifinal spots at the Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai could be decided as Elina Svitolina, Elena Vesnina and Sam Stosur take the court on Day 3. Preview all the singles action right here on wtatennis.com!
The two lowest-ranked players at the WTA Elite Trophy will meet on Thursday with the same goal in mind, but facing very different scenarios. Last-minute singles alternate Timea Babos sits at the bottom of her group after suffering a straight sets defeat against Timea Bacsinszky, but she would have to pull off a massive performance in to advance to the semifinals. Her opponent, Zhang Shuai, needs to win just four games in order to clinch the Camellia Group semifinal spot. And considering the way China's Zhang was able to leverage the support of her home fans in her 6-1, 6-1 thumping of Bacsinszky, Babos seems to be facing an uphill battle.
After suffering a straight-sets defeat against Britain's Johanna Konta, Sam Stosur has one last shot to keep her semifinal hopes alive in Zhuhai. She's up against Caroline Garcia and needs to win without dropping a set in order to stay alive in the Azalea Group. Stosur is more battle-tested than Frenchwoman, who is making her Zhuhai debut on Thursday, but she can't afford another slow start against her big-hitting opponent.
"I'm playing another player I have never played before, so that's I guess kind of unique these days out on tour," Stosur mused in her post-match press conference. "I know that she plays aggressive tennis, got a big serve, really goes for it. She hits the ball hard.
"In a lot of ways it's kind of similar to [playing Konta]. I need to, no doubt, get off to better starts. You can't be giving these girls head starts by four games and expect to be able to come back every single time."
Elena Vesnina is flying high after her doubles victory at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, but she'll have to hit the ground running in her first singles match at Zhuhai. Her opponent, Elina Svitolina, has her work cut out for her; she needs to beat Svitolina in order to advance to the semifinals, but Vesnina could knock her out if she wins in straight sets.
"[Vesnina] of course really confident, I think, at the moment after winning doubles in Singapore," Svitolina assessed in her post-match press conference. "I will try just to stick to my game. It's a new match, new challenge. There will be new opportunities. I will try to create of course opportunities for myself."
Camellia Group: Zhang advances if she wins 4 games vs. Babos on Thursday
Peony Group: Winner of Strycova vs Kvitova (on Friday) advances
Azalea Group: Stosur (vs. Garcia on Thursday) needs to win in straight sets to keep chances of advancing alive.
Rose Group: Svitolina advances with a win over Vesnina on Thursday. If Vesnina wins in straight sets, then Svitolina is out, with Friday's match between Bertens and Vesnina determining the group winner; Bertens would need to win in straight sets to win the group.