That will be followed by the clash between seventh seed Belinda Bencic and alternate Kiki Bertens, who replaced Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka.
Ashleigh Barty vs Petra Kvitova Preview
With the semi-final spots being decided today from the Red Group, the four women will give it their all to advance. In the first match of the day, reigning French Open champion Ashleigh Barty faces the 2011 champion Petra Kvitova.
After a season of firsts, Barty would definitely look to finish on a high. With a prized Roland Garros crown and a Miami title, as well as the coveted Year-End No. 1 Ranking in her kitty, the Australian would target nothing less than her maiden title at the WTA Finals.
Barty started her quest with a gritty three-set win over Belinda Bencic but was then edged in three by Kiki Bertens. As the group leader from the Red Group, the 23-year-old is in pole position to qualify as a simple victory would suffice.
What will help her further is her recent record against Petra Kvitova. While the Czech emerged victorious in their first four showdowns, Barty has managed to turn the tables in the next two, triumphing in Miami and Beijing, in three sets.
That said, as the oldest and the most experienced of the eight players in Shenzen, Kvitova won't bow out without a fight. However, her serve this week has been a liability, causing her to double fault 19 times in just a couple of matches. Until and unless she manages to rectify that, a win looks unlikely.
Belinda Bencic vs Kiki Bertens Preview
Belinda Bencic is still in second position in the Red Group but a lot would depend on today's outcome when she meets Kiki Bertens in the second match of the day. It would need a herculean effort from the 22-year-old Swiss for she has never managed to beat Bertens in their three previous face-offs.
This is one of the sternest tests that Bencic has ever faced. Bertens has always posed a threat for the youngster with her power and deadly serve. While Bencic was demolished in their first-ever match-up, she was at least able to put up a fight in their next two showdowns, taking a set on both occasions.
However, both times Bencic ended up on the losing side with the most recent defeat coming at the Porsche Grand Prix this year in April.
What makes Bertens even more dangerous is how she began her WTA Finals challenge, despite making a late entry. Osaka's withdrawal paved her way into the competition and she made the most use of her golden opportunity by trumping the World No. 1 Barty in three sets.
Bencic did topple Kvitova on Tuesday after tasting defeat at the hands of Barty in her first match this week. The three-set victory was a testament to her resilience and fighting spirit after going down an early break of serve in the decider. Bencic would need more of that against an opponent as feisty as the Dutchwoman, who already has 55 wins on the Tour this year.
A victory would push Bencic into the last-four and perhaps that's the motivation she needs to score her first-ever victory over Bertens.
Winning Scenarios for today
- A win would be enough for Barty to qualify as the winner of Red Group. If Kvitova does pull off a win in three sets, Barty could still make it, based on the percentage of games, provided Bertens also beats Bencic.
- Bencic would need to beat Bertens for the first time in her career. In case Kvitova topples Barty, a three-set loss could also help Bencic's cause, where the percentage of games would come in to play.
- Bertens might be an alternate but has as much chance to proceed as the others in the group. She needs to beat Bencic, irrespective of what happens in the other match.
2019 WTA Finals Schedule Day 5, (31st October)
Tournament name: 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen
Category: Year-ending championships
Match 1: (1) Ashleigh Barty vs (6) Petra Kvitova (Approx 4 PM IST)
Match 2: (Alt) Kiki Bertens vs (7) Belinda Bencic (Approx 5:30 PM IST)
Broadcast: No live telecast in India
Live score: wtafinals.com
You can follow all the coverage of the WTA Finals 2019 here on Sportskeeda.