Bencic nears WTA Finals spot as Bertens loses

The Associated Press
Belinda Bencic, of Switzerland, returns a shot to Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, during the semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis championships Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Belinda Bencic, of Switzerland, returns a shot to Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, during the semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis championships Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

MOSCOW (AP) -- Belinda Bencic is on the verge of claiming the last spot at the season-ending WTA Finals after winning her Kremlin Cup quarterfinal on Friday.

Bencic saved two set points in the opening-set tiebreak in beating Kirsten Flipkens 7-6 (8), 6-1.

The Swiss player's hope of reaching the tour finals had earlier been given a boost when fellow contender Kiki Bertens was beaten 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 by Kristina Mladenovic.

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If Bencic beats Mladenovic in the semifinals on Saturday she will secure the eighth and final place ahead of Serena Williams at the Oct. 27-Nov. 3 tournament in Shenzhen, China.

Bertens now needs at least one player to withdraw to play in the tour finals.

In the other semifinal, Karolina Muchova bids to reach her third final of the year when she plays Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova after both won in straight sets.

In the men's draw, third-seeded Marin Cilic ousted Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (2) to set up a semifinal meeting with Andrei Rublev, who swept past Nikola Milojevic 6-2, 6-3.

Seventh-seeded Adrian Mannarino, last year's runner-up, upset fourth-seeded Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (3), 6-1 and will face 2012 Kremlin Cup champion Andreas Seppi in the other semifinal.

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