ZHUHAI, China: Top-seeded Venus Williams rallied to beat Saisai Zheng of China, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 and advance to the semifinals of the WTA Elite Trophy on Thursday.
Williams hit six aces and saved two of four break points to dispatch of Zheng, who was granted a wild-card berth.
Zheng stormed out to a 5-1 lead in the first set with some aggressive groundstrokes. Williams caught up to 5-4 before the Chinese player closed the opening set after 44 minutes.
“You could see that she played amazing and she really is a future champion,” Williams said of Zheng.
“First set, wow, she played so well until the last point. She definitely deserved to get the wildcard into this tournament. She has a lot of talent and there are definitely great things for her in the future.”
The win extends Williams record to 2-0 in Group A.
The tournament brings together 11 of the top players who did not qualify for last week’s WTA Finals in Singapore, including Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic and Roberta Vinci.
The qualifiers compete in a four-group round robin format, with the winners of each group advancing to the semifinals.
One player from the field can move into the Top 10 on Monday and Williams is in a race for that spot with Carla Suárez Navarro, Karolina Pliskova and Vinci.