Agnieszka Radwanska beat Karolina Pliskova to reach the Tianjin Open final and get within one win of qualifying for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
Radwanska had never lost a set to Pliskova in four previous meetings and that trend continued in their semifinal clash at the International-level stop on Saturday, as the No.2-seeded Pole broke serve four times - and never got broken herself - to cruise past the No.3-seeded Czech in 66 minutes, 6-3, 6-1.
"I don't even think I played a bad match today. She was just much better with everything - the serve, returns," Pliskova said. "I was trying to make the pressure on her and she was defending pretty well from the baseline, and serving quite well. I'm happy with my week here, though, making the semis."
"It was definitely my best match of the week," Radwanska commented. "I knew I had to play well - she's a top player - and I think I did everything right today. Everything worked the way I wanted it to."
If Radwanska wins the final in Tianjin on Sunday, not only will she have the 16th WTA title of her career, she will qualify for the WTA Finals - it would be her fifth straight year qualifying for the event.
"Before the Asia tour I didn't really think I had a chance to get to Singapore, but I played well in Tokyo, Beijing and now here, and I'm really happy I'm so close now," Radwanska said. "Tomorrow's a big day for me, to have another title and to get to Singapore. I'll try not to think about it on the court though!"
Standing between Radwanska and both of those things will be Danka Kovinic, who who an all-WTA Rising Star grinder against Bojana Jovanovski in the other semifinal match of the day, 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-2.
Having already been the only Montenegrin ever to reach a WTA quarterfinal, having done it six times over the last few years, the 20-year-old Kovinic has broken her own national record in a big way this week, not only becoming the first to reach a WTA semifinal, but now the first to reach a WTA final.
Radwanska and Kovinic will be playing against each other for the first time.
Back to Pliskova, the Czech also still has a chance to reach the WTA Finals - she needs to win the Kremlin Cup in Moscow next week. She accepted a late wildcard into the Premier-level tournament.
"I'm just going to prepare for Moscow as well as I can," she said. "They asked me if I wanted the wildcard and I said yes - even if I didn't have a chance to go to Singapore I wanted to play in the tournament, because for me it's just better to play a tournament than to be at home practicing. And if I don't have Singapore I'll still have Zhuhai, and then Fed Cup finals, which is at home this year.
"But even if there's a small chance to get to Singapore I'm going to try my best, and we'll see."