Ashleigh Barty bounced back in Shenzhen on Thursday, while Kiki Bertens, in for the injured Naomi Osaka, bowed out with illness.
Naomi Osaka's withdrawal saw Kiki Bertens get a late call to compete in the WTA Finals and the Dutchwoman made a winning start.
Whatever happens at the WTA Finals, Ashleigh Barty will end 2019 as world number one after beating Belinda Bencic in three sets.
Bianca Andreescu will finally face her idol at the WTA Finals, a prospect Simona Halep is relishing.
Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova and Belinda Bencic will be top seed Ashleigh Barty's opponents in the Red Group in Shenzhen.
Bianca Andreescu and Ashleigh Barty both won at the China Open, though neither progressed in routine fashion on Wednesday.
Naomi Osaka made it six wins in succession as world number one Ashleigh Barty and defending champion Caroline Wozniacki triumphed in China.
Aryna Sabalenka lies in wait in the Wuhan Open final for Alison Riske, who fought back past Petra Kvitova in Friday's last-four contest.
The Wuhan Open semi-finals will feature Ashleigh Barty for the third year in a row, but Elina Svitolina was dumped out on Thursday.
Ashleigh Barty will not have the obstacle of Simona Halep in her bid for glory in Wuhan, where Dayana Yastremska sprung a big shock.