The round robin portion of the WTA Championships - Doha 2010 wrapped up on Friday, with the first two matches having major implications.
First up was No.4 seed Francesca Schiavone's 6-4 6-2 win over No.7 seed Elena Dementieva, which would turn out to be Dementieva's last career match - she announced her retirement on court straight after the match.
"Everybody knew - not me," Schiavone said of Dementieva's news. "She has been a really big example for everybody. I'm friends with her. She feels it is her time to leave. It's part of life. I wish the best for her. She deserves it."
Schiavone had lost both of her previous round robin matches but ended on a winning note. She will play in the Fed Cup final next week against the USA. "I love to play for my country. I'm always ready when the captain calls me to play for my nation. Now I have some days to rest to play my last singles of the year."
Next, No.2 seed Vera Zvonareva rallied from a break down twice in the first set and twice in the second set to get revenge on No.3 seed Kim Clijsters, avenging her loss in the US Open final with a 6-4 7-5 win over the Belgian.
"I definitely produced some good tennis today," said Zvonareva, who also secured the year-end No.2 ranking with the win. "Every tournament I go to I'm trying to do my best to win it. But I have to take it one match at a time."
"Last night's match was pretty tough and I kind of felt it today," Clijsters, who beat Victoria Azarenka late Thursday night, said. "I kind of felt flat out there today. I'll have the morning off and I'll practice around 4pm. I'll be using this time to recover and be as fresh as possible for the semifinals tomorrow."
Although the final four line-up was settled on Friday, now both semifinal match-ups are set, with Clijsters facing No.5 seed Sam Stosur and Zvonareva facing No.1 seed Caroline Wozniacki. Clijsters leads Stosur in their head-to-head, 4-0; Wozniacki and Zvonareva are tied in their head-to-head, 3-3.
In the third match of the day, Azarenka, the No.8 seed, rallied from an early 3-1 deficit to beat No.6 seed Jelena Jankovic, 6-4 6-0, in a match that determined who would finish No.3 and No.4 in their group. Both were 0-2 in earlier matches.