Defending champion Elina Svitolina booked a spot in the title match of the WTA Finals and extended her winning streak at the season-ending event to ten, as tournament debutante Belinda Bencic retired due to cramping early amidst third set of their semifinal clash.
In her first service game, the eighth-seeded Svitolina fired three aces to hold at love. Bencic saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game of the set, following it up with an aggressive and confident play to break Svitolina’s serve at 15 for a 4-2 lead.
The defending champion quickly leveled the set to 4-4, hitting as many as seven aces up until that moment, while in all her three round-robin matches she hit a total of eight. Soon after losing her advantage, Bencic started feeling something in her right hamstring. While leading 6-5, the Swiss called for a medial timeout, got a massage, and then proceeded to break Svitolina in the following game, winning the set on her third set point.
Ukraine’s Svitolina opened the second set with a 2-0 lead. As the set progressed, the seventh-seeded Bencic became increasingly troubled by cramps in her right leg and Svitolina got the second break to close out the set at 6-3. The key metric here was that Svitolina saved 3/3 break points, now allowing her opponent to turn the set around, while Bencic saved 1/3 break points.
Svitolina dominantly opened the the third set and Bencic eventually decided to retire at 5-7 6-3 4-1, having played through pain for a good part of the semifinal.
Staying undefeated at the 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, Svitolina is one step away from winning the record-breaking $4.725 million prize check.