Chinese wild-card entry Zhang Shuai became the first player to secure a semifinal spot at the WTA Elite Trophy tournament, beating Timea Babos 7-6 (2), 6-4 on Thursday to secure the top spot in her group with two wins.
After a 6-1, 6-1 opening win over Timea Bacsinszky, Zhang needed to win just four games against Babos to win the group. She fell behind 4-1 before recovering to level at 4-4 and then held on to win the first set in a tiebreaker.
She rebounded from a break down in the second set to clinch the win in 1 hour, 36 minutes.
Caroline Garcia beat Sam Stosur 6-4, 6-3 to set up a Friday encounter against top-seeded Johanna Konta for a spot in the semifinals in their group.
The tournament in Zhuhai features the 12 players on the tour who didn't qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore last week.