WUHAN (Reuters) – A tournament plagued with falling seeds, withdrawals and retirements will at least enjoy a high-powered final after Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova reached the championship match of the inaugural Wuhan Open on Friday.
The Czech beat Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-3 7-5 to set up a final against either Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, whom she beat in the Wimbledon final, or U.S. Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki.
Victory in her 18th Tour final on Saturday will seal Kvitova’s place in the year-ending WTA Finals in Singapore.
Kvitova lost her only previous meeting with Svitolina but was always the dominant player this time, winning the first set with ease and edging the second after surrendering an early break of service to the world number 34.
Organisers will be breathing a sigh of relief that they will at least have a marquee final.
After local heroine Li Na announced her retirement from the sport on the eve of the tournament, world number one Serena Williams withdrew through illness and Maria Sharapova was bundled out by Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky.
Former world number one Victoria Azarenka also withdrew before the tourna-ment started while second seed Simona Halep could not take to the court for her third round match because of a stomach bug and Jelena Jankovic retired with a back injury.