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Barty, Bencic move to WTA Finals semis (Lead)



Shenzhen, Oct 31: Ashleigh Barty of Australia and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland qualified for the semi-finals of the WTA Finals tournament on Thursday.

No. 1 seed Barty beat No. 7 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2 in a round-robin match that played out in an hour and 29 minutes.

The Australian, who had won her past three matches against Kvitova, took advantage of the Czech's mistakes to finish top of the Red Group, reports Efe news.

Bencic meanwhile secured her second win at Shenzhen by beating Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 7-5, 1-0. The Dutch world number 10 was forced to retire due to injury early in the second set.

Bertens had only qualified for the tournament as an alternate after Japan's Naomi Osaka was forced to withdraw with an injury.

On Wednesday, Ukraine's Elina Svitolina secured her place in the semis after beating Romania's Simona Halep.

Halep will face Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic on Friday in a match that will decide who gets the final place in the semis.

The WTA Finals is the last tournament of the season, and only the top eight ranked female players are eligible to compete.

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