Victoria Azarenka battled past Madison Keys 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1 in Guadalajara on Thursday, ending the American’s hopes of reaching the WTA Finals and setting up a quarterfinal showdown with Coco Gauff, who rolled past Italian Martina Trevisan 6-0, 6-3.
It will be the first meeting between the 33-year-old twice major winner Azarenka and the American 15 years her junior, after overcoming second-set blunders to dispatch Keys in a tense two hours and 14 minutes.
Gauff earned her spot in Fort Worth a day earlier.
Two other players - Aryna Sabalenka and Daria Kasatkina - also qualified for the WTA Finals on Thursday, claiming the sixth and seventh spots.
Kasatkina makes her debut in the season finale after winning in San Jose and Granby, while fourth-ranked Sabalenka makes her second trip after reaching the semifinal in Flushing Meadows.
Third-ranked Jessica Pegula of the United States kept her impressive 2022 on track to down former US Open winner Bianca Andreescu 6-4, 6-4 and will next face compatriot Sloane Stephens, who dispatched France’s Caroline Garcia 7-6(6), 7-5.
Pegula, a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and US Open this year, looked to be in trouble as the Canadian broke her to love in the second game of the first set but quickly found her form, winning slightly more than 70% of her first-serve points across the entire match.
Veronika Kudermetova beat Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 6-4 and will next play either American Danielle Collins or Greek Maria Sakkari, while Czech Marie Bouzkova overcame a disastrous start to send off Liudmila Samsonova 0-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Bouzkova will play the winner of a match between Kasatkina and Anna Kalinskaya.