It means that the winner of the Pliskova-Halep duel Friday will join the undefeated Svitolina in the last four.
Like last year, Svitolina was one of the last players to qualify for the eight-woman tournament. Her prospects seemed bleak ahead of Wimbledon after a knee injury severely disrupted the early part of her campaign.
But she ended her grand slam drought by reaching back-to-back semifinals at Wimbledon — losing to Halep, the eventual champion — and the US Open. The title in Shenzhen would not only give Svitolina, who dates men’s pro Gael Monfils, a huge paycheck but it would extend her run of winning at least one title in a season to seven.
Halep and Svitolina, two of the finest movers in the game, have taken turns in beating each other in patches. Halep won the first two, Svitolina bagged four of the next five and the Romanian claimed the last two.
The back-and-forth nature also extended to Wednesday’s match itself. Svitolina led 3-0 before Halep leveled at 3-3. One of the key moments came when Svitolina saved a break chance in the ensuing game to settle. She subsequently broke to end the set.
The rallies were breathtaking, both players covering every inch of the court. Normally the one producing spectacular highlight-reel efforts, Halep was outdone by Svitolina. Two of her best shots included a wicked forehand slice winner to end a lung-busting rally and a blasted forehand winner down the line from well behind the baseline.
Svitolina had to save two break points in the final game against Pliskova Monday in a match that featured the longest tiebreak in tournament history and did the same against Halep to end the encounter.
It’s not known whether the eliminated Andreescu will take to the court Friday against Svitolina. If she doesn’t, second alternate Sofia Kenin would come in after first alternate Kiki Bertens replaced Naomi Osaka.
Andreescu considered stopping at 2-3 in the first set against Pliskova but continued after assessing the 2016 US Open finalist’s game style.
“My knee twisted,” she said during a coaching visit from Sylvain Bruneau. “I heard a crack. (The trainer) validated me that (it’s) my meniscus. It’s cracking every time I walk and it fr****** hurts.
“I don’t want to stop. If it was against Simona, then OK. But (Pliskova) misses.”
Pliskova, however, was solid and Andreescu’s match and perhaps season, came to an end.