SHENZEN - Holder Elina Svitolina sealed a place in the final of the end-of-season WTA Finals on Saturday as injury forced Switzerland's Belinda Bencic to retire midway through the third set of their semi-final at Shenzhen Bay Sports Center.
Seventh-seeded Bencic conceded defeat due to a nagging hamstring problem while trailing 5-7 6-3 4-1 having forced Svitolina to drop a set for the first time in the tournament.
While the Ukrainian, seeded eight, responded in style to claim the second set, Bencic's back and hamstring problems eventually saw her concede defeat and leave Svitolina's hopes of claiming the $4.75m first prize at the $14m event intact.
"You never want to finish the match and see your opponent retiring," said Svitolina. "It's very tough I think for her, and especially at the end of the season in one of the biggest tournaments and you want to play well.
"It's very sad but hopefully she can recover and be strong for next year."