Retirements headlined the last day of Round Robin matches at the WTA Elite Trophy as there were two dead rubbers which saw one of the players throwing in the white towel mid-match due to their injuries. Julia Goerges was the only player who prevailed in a completed match today, sealing her spot in the last four as she needed to only clinch a set to qualify for the semifinals.
Mladenovic puts up tough fight
In the battle between two powerful players on the fast-paced courts in Zhuhai, Goerges was the in-form player and it reflected on the scoreboard as she quickly strolled to clinch the first set 6-2 against Kristina Mladenovic after just 33 minutes of play.
Winning the opening set already sealed her qualification for the semifinals, which certainly played a major role in her slight misfocus during the second set. Goerges was broken twice as Mladenovic stepped up her level of play being determined to send the match into a decider, but failed to convert a 5-3 lead as the Frenchwoman ultimately fell in straight sets after an hour and 38 minutes, extending her losing streak to 12 straight matches to end off the year with.
Vesnina struggles with a hip issue
Already visibly being impacted by a hip injury in her match yesterday, Elena Vesnina came out onto the court today with the hope of being able to put up a tough fight and not disappoint the fans. She faced a tough challenge in local favorite Peng Shuai, but the Russian failed to convert her opportunities as she started to struggle really badly against the solid Chinese.
Losing the first set 2-6, the Russian eventually retired after the opening game of the second set, with the pain being too unbearable which disallowed her from continuing. Vesnina was later revealed to have dislocated her SI joint in her match against Vandeweghe yesterday.
Stephens’ injury issues continue
In the dead rubber encounter between Sloane Stephens and Barbora Strycova in the last singles match of the day, both players were fighting for vital ranking points and an attractive amount of close to $100,000 with a win. However, the American’s struggles after claiming the US Open trophy continued as she battled a knee injury throughout the Asian Swing, ending her season with a retirement as Strycova won 21 of the first 26 points in the match, eventually taking the bittersweet win with a 5-0 scoreline.
The semifinal line-up features second seed Coco Vandeweghe going up against youngster Ashleigh Barty in a battle of the hard-hitters, while Anastasija Sevastova and Julia Goerges will contest a rematch of the Mallorca Open final. Furthermore, Vandeweghe has also sealed her debut in the top 10 of the rankings next Monday as she will end 2017 in the elite batch, coming off two Major semifinal appearances.