WTA Elite Trophy favourite Kiki Bertens reached her fifth final of 2019 as she battled from behind to beat Zheng Saisai in Zhuhai.

Bertens narrowly missed out on a place in the season-ending WTA Finals, but she will have the chance to claim a third trophy of the year thanks to a hard-fought 2-6 6-3 6-4 triumph on Saturday.

The Dutchwoman found herself a set and a break down at 6-2 2-1 but rallied to take nine of the next 11 games.

Despite Bertens holding a 4-1 lead in the deciding set, Chinese home favourite Zheng pressed back, breaking serve in a 13-minute eighth game to draw level.

But Zheng's resolve was swiftly undone as Bertens broke back, before the world number 10 served out the win to clinch a place in the final, where she will face Aryna Sabalenka.

World number 14 Sabalenka beat Czech Karolina Muchova 7-5 7-6 (7-4) to reach Sunday's title match.

A deciding third set looked likely at one stage, but it was Belarusian Sabalenka who finally held her nerve, the match finishing on an error when Muchova drilled a slack forehand into the net.

Stefanos Tsitsipas battled past Filip Krajinovic to set up a semi-final with favourite Roger Federer in the Swiss Indoors Basel.

Tsitsipas is already assured of his place in the ATP Finals in London and he will now be aiming to claim the scalp of former world number one Federer, who received a walkover due to Stan Wawrinka's withdrawal, ahead of next week's Paris Masters.

Krajinovic was no pushover for the Greek, however, with Tsitsipas initially falling behind before recovering to win 3-6 6-4 6-4.

Despite Tsitsipas cruising through the second set to restore parity, matters looked set to be complicated for the world number seven when he conceded a break early in the decider.

But Krajinovic was unable to capitalise – Tsitsipas holding his nerve and cracking his opponent's serve once more before wrapping up the win with the first match point on offer.

Meanwhile, Reilly Opelka ended a run of three successive defeats against top-10 opponents as he defeated Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3 3-6 6-3.

The 22-year-old American lost to world number 10 Agut at the Shanghai Masters, but inflicted revenge on Friday, inflicting a blow to the Spaniard's ATP Finals hopes.

With Matteo Berrettini having progressed to the last four in Vienna, Agut is now 130 points adrift of the Italian in the Race to London rankings.

Opelka will go up against Alex de Minaur – a Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier – in the semi-finals, after the Australian overcame Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in Friday's other match.

Matteo Berrettini gave his hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals a huge shot in the arm, while Dominic Thiem benefitted from Pablo Carreno Busta's withdrawal at the Vienna Open.

Italian Berrettini ended Andrey Rublev's seven-match winning streak with a hard-earned 7-5 7-6 (7-4) triumph in Austria to book a semi-final berth.

Berrettini, who will break into the world's top 10 on Monday, is eighth in the race for a place at the end-of-season tournament in London and is 130 points clear of Roberto Bautista Agut – a last-eight loser to Reilly Opelka in Basle.

Austrian home favourite Thiem, aiming to win this tournament for the first time, will be next up for Berrettini in the last four.

World number five Thiem was leading 5-0 against Carreno Busta when the Spaniard was forced to retire.

Diego Schwartzman still has an outside chance of reaching London himself and recovered from falling 3-0 behind in the first set to defeat Karen Khachanov 7-6 (8-6) 6-2.

The Argentinian plays Gael Monfils for a spot in the final after the Frenchman earned a convincing 7-5 6-1 triumph over Aljaz Bedene. 

Monfils moves into the top 10 in the race to London, as the battle for places in the English capital heats up.

World number one Ashleigh Barty has been drawn to face Naomi Osaka in the round-robin stage of the WTA Finals in Shenzhen.

French Open champion and top seed Barty will come up against two-time grand slam winners Osaka and Petra Kvitova, along with seventh seed Belinda Bencic in the Red Group.

Barty was on Friday announced as the winner of the Race to Shenzhen ahead of Karolina Pliskova and hopes to celebrate by being crowned champion in her singles debut at the season-ending tournament in China.

"It was already an honour to qualify for the WTA Finals, but to also finish the Race to Shenzhen on top is an achievement I'm incredibly proud of," the Australian said. 

"This is a special tournament for myself and my team and I’ll be fighting hard to finish the WTA season with the Shenzhen title."

Pliskova will take on defending champion Elina Svitolina, Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu in the Purple Group.

US Open champion Andreescu and 22-year-old Swiss Bencic will be making their debuts in the tournament.

Osaka and Kvitova meet in the first match of the event on Sunday.

Aryna Sabalenka defeated her regular doubles partner Elise Mertens in a fraught WTA Elite Trophy group decider.

With victory for either player enough to guarantee progression to the semi-finals, fourth seed Sabalenka came out on top 6-4 3-6 7-5 to ensure her place at the top of the Rose Group.

The US Open doubles champions have been at the top of their games in the pairs this season and both players took that form into Friday's encounter in Zhuhai.

Following a two-hour and 20-minute slog, Sabalenka clinched victory with a third match point when Mertens sent a backhand return looping into the net after the Belarusian had broken her serve at the culmination of a thrilling rally in the previous game.

Sabalenka will face Karolina Muchova for a place in the final, with the Czech having overcome Sofia Kenin 6-4 4-6 6-3.

After being broken twice to allow Kenin to level the match in the second set, 23-year-old Muchova rallied in the decider, serving out a victory which saw her top the Camellia Group.

In the Orchid Group, Zheng Saisai scraped through to the last four despite a 6-4 6-3 defeat to fifth seed Petra Martic.

Zheng knew she would progress even with a defeat, as long as she won seven games against her Croatian opponent.

The world number 40 managed it in dramatic fashion, clawing back a break point to make it 4-3 in set two and guarantee her semi-final spot.

Kei Nishikori has undergone surgery on an elbow injury which ended his 2019 season early, the ATP Tour has confirmed.

The world number eight cut his season short due to a problem with his right elbow, having not competed since going out to Alex de Minaur in the third round of the US Open in August.

Nishikori, who recently parted ways with long-term coach Dante Bottini, won the Brisbane International title after beating Daniil Medvedev in the final in January, though that was his only final appearance of 2019 as the 29-year-old made it to the last eight at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.

Japanese number one Nishikori is expected to make his comeback at the inaugural ATP Cup in January in Perth, representing his country alongside Yoshihito Nishioka.

Stan Wawrinka has been forced to pull out of a dream home quarter-final against Roger Federer at the Swiss Indoors Basel due to a back injury.

The seventh seed Wawrinka displayed plenty of grit to dispatch of Frances Tiafoe 6-3 3-6 7-5 on Thursday and was set to meet Swiss great Federer in the last eight.

However, Wawrinka – a losing finalist to Andy Murray at last week's European Open – will not be able to take to the court to face Federer for a 27th time.

"The bad news is that I will have to retire," he said.

"I had some trouble with my back in the last game. I'm sure I cannot make it for tomorrow [Friday]. I will pull out."

Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas had to fight back to avoid an upset against Ricardas Berankis, the Greek recovering to seal a 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-4 triumph. 

Filip Krajinovic is up next after he upset fifth seed Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-4, while Roberto Bautista Agut needed three sets to defeat Richard Gasquet.

Reilly Opelka will take on the Spanish fourth seed after he recovered from a set down to defeat David Goffin 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.

 

Dominic Thiem ended his Fernando Verdasco hoodoo to reach the quarter-finals of the Vienna Open in his homeland.

Top seed Thiem had lost all four matches against the experienced Spaniard before coming from behind to secure a 3-6 6-3 6-2 victory on Thursday.

The world number five will face Pablo Carreno Busta in his 11th last-eight encounter of another impressive season after recovering from a poor start.

Verdasco charged into a 3-0 lead and did not face a break point in the first set, but Thiem won 97 per cent of points on serve in the second as he forced a decider.

Thiem dominated the final set, Verdasco winning just one point on the Austrian's serve to bow out in the second round.

Andrey Rublev's hopes of winning back-to-back titles are still alive after the Russian beat Hyeon Chung 6-4 6-2.

Rublev, winner of the Kremlin Cup on home soil last weekend, will take on Matteo Berrettini, while fourth seed Gael Monfils defeated teenage wildcard Jannik Sinner 6-3 7-6 (10-8).

Diego Schwartzman accounted for Sam Querrey with a 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-5) victory and Pablo Carreno Busta needed three sets to get past Mikhail Kukushkin, with Aljaz Bedene also advancing at the expense of Gilles Simon.

Kiki Bertens secured a place in the semi-finals of the WTA Elite Trophy with a straight-sets win over Dayana Yastremska.

The top seed defeated the Ukrainian teenager in their only previous meeting at the China Open last month and repeated the feat in routine fashion in Zhuhai.

Bertens prevailed 6-4 6-3, ensuring she progresses from the Azalea Group ahead of Yastremska, with both players having beaten Donna Vekic in their other match.

Karolina Muchova condemned Alison Riske to an exit from the tournament as she came from behind to beat the American in the Czech's debut in southern China.

Muchova was the last player to qualify for the Elite Trophy and twice needed to stage a fightback to start her campaign with a triumph.

She recovered from losing the first set to force a decider and, after going down 3-1 in the third, again showed her powers of resilience to prevail 2-6 6-2 7-5.

Muchova's match with second seed Sofia Kenin will decide who progresses from the Camellia Group.

Meanwhile, Madison Keys fell out of contention despite beating Petra Martic 6-3 6-4.

Martic's meeting with Zheng Saisai will decide who goes through from the Orchid Group. Zheng needs to win only seven games regardless of the result to progress. Martic must win and can concede no more than six games.

Former tennis star Andrea Gaudenzi will assume the role of ATP chairman when Chris Kermode leaves his position at the end of the year.

It was announced in March that executive chairman and president Kermode would not receive an extension to his contract, a move that was reportedly spearheaded by ATP Player Council president Novak Djokovic.

Gaudenzi, who won three ATP titles and reached a career-high ranking of 18 before gaining a law degree and moving into business, was the board of directors' unanimous choice to take over.

World number one and 16-time grand slam champion Djokovic welcomed the appointment of someone with high-level on-court experience.

"On behalf of the players, I'd like to welcome Andrea as the next chairman of the ATP," Djokovic said in a statement.

"As a former player, he has walked in our shoes, and has also become a successful entrepreneur following his playing career.

"He has all the qualities to lead the Tour and we look forward to working together for the benefit of the players and the sport more generally."

Gaudenzi said: "The ATP has played a central part in my life in so many ways, and to be given this opportunity to serve as ATP chairman is a true honour.

"I look forward to overseeing the future direction of the Tour and building on the sport's global success and popularity at what is unquestionably one of the most exciting times in the history of men's professional tennis."

Roger Federer acknowledged his struggles against Radu Albot in Miami provided him with motivation for his demolition of the Romanian at the Swiss Indoors Basel.

Federer, seeking his 10th title at his hometown tournament, cruised to a 6-0 6-3 win in his second-round match, needing just 62 minutes to do so on Wednesday.

It was a stark contrast to the 20-time grand slam champion's meeting with Albot in Miami, where he had to come from a set down to win 4-6 7-5 6-3.

"I'm extremely happy because I really struggled against him in Miami and he definitely got my attention there. I was basically a point away from losing," Federer said.

"It was important for me to show a reaction to that match and come out with a proper game plan. I think I learned a lot from that match."

Federer will next face either compatriot Stan Wawrinka or Frances Tiafoe in the quarter-finals. Wawrinka beat Pablo Cuevas 6-3 6-4 while Tiafoe saw off Daniel Evans 6-4 6-2.

Taylor Fritz pulled off a shock in the first round by defeating Alexander Zverev, but he could not back that up in the second as Alex de Minaur claimed a 6-3 6-3 victory over the American. Wednesday's other second-round clash saw Jan-Lennard Struff overcome Henri Laaksonen 6-3 6-4.

Marin Cilic failed to build on his run to the Kremlin Cup semi-finals, the former US Open champion suffering a 6-4 6-4 loss to sixth seed David Goffin.

Ricardas Berankis and Filip Krajinovic were the day's other winners.

Meanwhile, at the Erste Bank Open, Matteo Berrettini bolstered his hopes of securing an ATP Finals spot with a second-round triumph against Grigor Dimitrov.

The Italian, eighth in the Race to London rankings, prevailed in a battle of this year's US Open semi-finalists 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-1), hitting 36 winners to add 45 points to his tally.

Gael Monfils kept his hopes of a spot in London alive by coming from behind to avoid an upset against Dennis Novak. The Frenchman recovered to come through 2-6 7-5 6-3 in his first-round clash.

The other second-round match in Vienna saw Karen Khachanov progress as Marton Fucsovics retired in the third set

Denis Shapovalov fell back down to earth after winning his first ATP title in Stockholm last week, losing 6-3 7-5 to Pablo Carreno Busta. Elsewhere in the draw, there were wins for Mikhail Kukushkin, Andrey Rublev and Sam Querrey.

Roger Federer brushed aside Radu Albot to remain on course for a 10th title at the Swiss Indoors Basel.

Having seen off Peter Gojowczyk in short order in the first round, the 20-time grand slam champion was similarly emphatic in eliminating Albot, who offered scarce resistance in a 6-0 6-3 rout.

Albot won only six points on serve as Federer took the first set in just 22 minutes, and the Moldovan then looked in danger of being condemned to a double bagel.

Federer won the first two games of the second before Albot belatedly got on the board as he finally held serve.

Success in that game was greeted with huge applause from an appreciative crowd, and Albot was able to see the humourous side of his struggle as he performed a bow for the spectators.

He took two further games to give the scoreline at least a modicum of respectability, but an unbelievable comeback was never on the cards.

Federer wrapped up the victory in 62 minutes, losing only 10 points on serve and hitting 32 winners to blow away the overmatched Albot.

The 38-year-old could next face compatriot Stan Wawrinka as Federer looks to claim his 23rd straight match win in his hometown in what will be his 17th quarter-final in 19 appearances at the tournament.

Wawrinka, who lost to Andy Murray in the final of the European Open last week, will face Frances Tiafoe on Thursday.

Debutant Dayana Yastremska knocked Donna Vekic out of the WTA Elite Trophy and Maria Sakkari was eliminated by Elise Mertens on Wednesday.

Yastremska, the youngest player in the tournament at the age of 19, won her Azalea Group opener 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 in Zhuhai.

The Ukrainian teenager unleashed a barrage of ferocious forehand winners in a high-quality contest, which proved to be Vekic's last of the season.

Rising star Yastremska rallied from 5-3 down in the tie-break after the pair could only force three break points between them in a serve-dominated first set.

Vekic did her best to withstand the force of the 10th seed in the second, but a fierce forehand winner put Yastremska a break up and a potent backhand return made it 5-2.

Yastremska served out the match and will face top seed Kiki Bertens for a place in the semi-finals.

Mertens earlier sent Sakkari out with a 6-2 3-6 6-1 victory in the Rose Group.

Sixth seed Mertens will face her doubles partner Aryna Sabalenka with a place in the last four on the line after beating Sakkari for the first time in five years.

Mertens won four games in a row in the final set to send Sakkari packing.

Sofia Kenin won the final match of the day, starting the tournament with a 6-4 6-4 success over fellow American Alison Riske.

Alexander Zverev suffered a huge shock in the first round of the Swiss Indoors Basel on Tuesday as he succumbed to a straight-sets defeat to Taylor Fritz.

Zverev had been in tremendous form since a disappointing fourth-round exit at the US Open, reaching the semi-finals of the China Open and the final of the Shanghai Masters.

However, the second seed fell back down to earth in Switzerland as Fritz claimed his fourth top-10 win of the year.

The American fired down 37 winners in a 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 triumph that marked the biggest of his career by ranking.

"I played really solid, so it feels good to get that [win] instead of him getting me for the third time in a row," Fritz said. "I got out there today and the sliders [on my serve] were working well."

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who ended Zverev's China Open run, had no issues as he saw off Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-3 7-6 (8-6).

The Greek remains on course for a potential semi-final with Roger Federer, whose next obstacle in his bid for a 10th title in his hometown will be Radu Albot, who overcame Dusan Lajovic in three sets.

Roberto Bautista Agut and Fabio Fognini earned straight-sets wins over Marius Copil and Alexei Popyrin respectively, while Richard Gasquet defeated Juan Ignacio Londero and Reilly Opelka beat Cristian Garin.

At the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, top seed Dominic Thiem started his quest for a second title in his home country this year with a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) defeat of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

There were shocks in the Austrian capital as seventh seed Guido Pella went down 6-4 6-4 to Aljaz Bedene while Milos Raonic was beaten by Chung Hyeon 6-4 7-5.

Aside from his appearance at the Laver Cup, Tuesday marked Raonic's first match since retiring from the Rogers Cup with a back injury, and the former Wimbledon finalist saw a second-set comeback fall short.

Eighteen-year-old Jannik Sinner, fresh from his run to the European Open semi-finals, continued his fine form by overcoming Philipp Kohlschreiber. Gilles Simon defeated Feliciano Lopez in straight sets and Fernando Verdasco won a three-set tussle with Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Zheng Saisai pulled off an upset on day one of the WTA Elite Trophy by stunning Madison Keys.

The Chinese secured her third top-20 win of the year as the wildcard claimed a routine straight-sets win over the number three seed in Zhuhai.

Keys won the only previous clash between the two, which took place in Zhuhai four years ago, but the world number 37 needed only 91 minutes to prevail 6-4 6-2 and claim a key win in the Orchid Group.

While Keys floundered, Kiki Bertens made a winning start to her campaign by wearing down Donna Vekic in a tough opening encounter.

Bertens is the top-ranked player at the event, but the world number 10 did not have it easy in her fourth meeting of the year with Vekic.

The Dutchwoman squandered two match points in losing to Vekic in Brisbane but has now beaten the Croatian in three successive matches after a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 win in southern China.

Bertens needed an hour and 20 minutes to claim the first set in a tie-break, but raced to a 5-0 lead in the second to kick off the Azalea Group with a straight-sets success.

Explaining how she has maintained her drive after missing out on a WTA Finals berth, Bertens said: "I really had that goal in mind and now it was a little bit gone.

"But still, once I'm on court I want to win - and this tournament. I still want to win. [It's] really in me that I always want to win, so I think that's my drive."

The Rose Group started with a comfortable win for Aryna Sabalenka, who saw off Maria Sakkari 6-3 6-4.

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