GUANGZHOU, China, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Zhang Shuai gained her first WTA finals appearance Friday and will play Vania King in a battle of players outside the Top 100 for the Guangzhou Open title.
Shuai, No. 106 in the rankings, was given a wild-card invitation into the tournament and responded with four straight-set wins. She defeated Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-1 in Friday's semifinals.
King, ranked 130th, came though qualifying and battled through four three-set matches -- beating Zheng Jie 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the semifinals -- in claiming her second career WTA title match but first since she won the PTT Bangkok Open in October 2006.
Zhang won two-thirds of the points in her win over Meusburger. She allowed Meusburger to win only two points on serve in the first set and lost three points serving in the second.
Only once this week has King opened a match by winning a set. She dropped the opening set to Zheng due to two dropped service games but had two breaks of her own in the second and third sets to advance.
With Friday's match taking 2 hours, 33 minutes, King has played four main-draw matches totaling more than 9 hours and her two qualifying matches totaled 3 hours, 15 minutes. She's also reached the semifinals in doubles.