Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Demi Schuurs could be labelled as the pair with the worst luck this year, having lost in all five WTA finals they competed. However, they were determined to vie for the title this week at the 2019 WTA Finals, stunning other top pairings as the eighth seed in Shenzhen to reach the semifinals in their first appearance as a pair.
Going up against the already-eliminated Chan Hao-ching and Latisha Chan in their last round-robin match, it was a go big or go home situation. Their opponents also reached five finals this year but they managed to lift four titles. Meeting for the sixth time in this year alone, Groenefeld and Schuurs lead their head-to-head record 3-2, winning their last encounter 6-1, 6-1 in Wuhan.
Dominating the match 6-2, 6-4 in just an hour and seven minutes, Groenefeld and Schuurs successfully booked their spots in the semifinals ahead of the top seeds Mertens and Sabalenka, courtesy to their crucial win on the opening day of play.
Firing 25 winners to just 20 unforced errors, the German-Dutch pairing claimed 61 per cent of first-serve points while completely overpowering their opponents. The Chan sisters were looking a little lacklustre, especially on their serves after winning just one of their 14 second-serve points.
Groenefeld and Schuurs storm into the semifinals
The eighth seeds survived a deciding point in the opening game but from there it was one-way traffic as the Chan sisters were being overwhelmed at the net and the baseline, making it difficult for them to play their top-notch game. Within a blink of an eye, it seemed like Groenefeld and Schuurs were going to triumph easily, taking the first frame 6-2 after just 27 minutes of action.
Things got interesting when the Chan sisters surged out to a commanding 3-0, double-break lead in the second set and we were set for a match tiebreak to decide the winner. However, their struggles on serve were evident as they were broken in their following four service games, with Groenefeld and Schuurs cleaning up their game in the process. Serving to stay in the match, Latisha Chan served three double-faults and ultimately went down easily after just 67 minutes.