Zhuhai | Defending champ Goerges makes semis
Defending champion Julia Goerges rallied from a break down in the second set to seal a 6-2 7-6(5) win over Elise Mertens in the Rose Group at the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai on Thursday, and with it, a return trip to the semi-finals.
After being beaten by Anett Kontaveit in three sets on Wednesday, Goerges needed to win in two sets against the Belgian No 1 in the group’s final round robin match to gain her spot in the final four, but she was within two points from being eliminated.
The 29-year old was pushed all the way in the second set by her 22-year-old Belgian opponent, but the German managed to clinch the nail-biting tiebreak, 7-5, at the Hengqin International Tennis Centre.
The straight sets victory was enough to take her to the top of the group, and the World No 14 jumped with joy and punched the air in celebration.
Mertens had needed to win one set to become the semi-final qualifier out of the Rose Group, and she led 30-15 in the 10th game when she served for the second set.
The Belgian also saved 3 match points from 0-40 down as she later served at 5-6, but was unable to win the ensuing tiebreak to put herself in the final four.
Mertens, one of the six players on tour with three or more titles this season, could have broken into Top 10 by reaching the final undefeated or with the title.
It was the oldest player in the draw, Goerges, who celebrates her 30th birthday on Friday, however, that recorded her first Top 20 win since getting the better of No 20 Kiki Bertens during her Wimbledon semi-final run this July, and tied Mertens having posted 46 main draw wins this season, behind only Karolina Pliskova (49) and Petra Kvitova (47).