‘Crazy’ win puts Svitolina into Zhuhai semis

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina battled back from behind to beat Carla Suarez Navarro in a “crazy” match at the WTA Elite Trophy Friday, grabbing the last place in the semi-finals.

The world number 20 narrowly lost a marathon, 80-minute first set but she hit back to win 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 6-3 and reach the last four in the inaugural tournament in Zhuhai.

Svitolina, 21, will play Karolina Pliskova on Saturday, while top seed Venus Williams faces Roberta Vinci in the other semi-final at a purpose-built arena in southern China.

“It was such a crazy match today,” Svitolina said, according to the WTA website. “I was playing really well out there, and Carla was playing really well as well.

“It was a marathon match and really tough obviously, but I was really happy with how I played today. This is a big win.”

Already qualified Vinci expended little energy in her 6-1, 6-0 defeat to Slovakian alternate Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, who replaced Caroline Wozniacki after the Dane withdrew.

Ex-world number one Wozniacki pulled out with a left wrist injury caused by being unable to hold her racquet properly after she accidentally cut herself with a bread knife from room service.

America’s Madison Keys won the tournament’s final round-robin group match 6-3, 6-2 against China’s number one, wildcard Zheng Saisai, with neither player capable of reaching the semis.

The WTA Elite Trophy is a new event with a field of 12 and intended as a second-tier version of the WTA Finals between the top eight, which was won last week by Agnieszka Radwanska.

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