Debutante Belinda Bencic stayed alive at the 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen by putting a second-set slip behind her to defeat Petra Kvitova 6-3 1-6 6-4 and keep the Red Group wide open.
In the first set, the seventh-seeded Bencic saved a break point to level to 3-3 and then broke Kvitova’s serve to go ahead 4-3, even though the Czech’s serving percentage up to that point was 75%. The 22-year-old Bencic proceeded to win two more games in a row, finishing the set when Kvitova double-faulted on set point.
The 2011 WTA Finals champion Kvitova comfortably took the second set 6-1 as her opponent piled up 12 unforced errors to just three winners, while in the third set Kvitova twice recovered from a break down and finally held serve to lead 4-3, even got to the position of being a point away from 5-3. However, Bencic held for 4-4 and then fired an absolute rip cross-court for her best winner of the match to go ahead 5-4. Soon afterwards, the Swiss’ first WTA Finals match win was in the books.
When asked about her strongest asset in the match against Kvitova, Bencic praised the way she blocked the Czech’s powerful returns.
Had Bencic lost this match, she would have ruined her chances of advancing out of the round-robin phase, while now all four players in the Red Group are in contention for two semifinal spots, with Thursday’s matches determining who advances from the group.