WTA Tour

Barty claims WTA Elite Trophy with victory over Wang

2018-11-04 13:21
Ashleigh Barty (Gallo Images)

Zhuhai - Ashleigh Barty hailed a "truly phenomenal year" after winning the WTA Elite Trophy in China on Sunday.

The Australian overcame home favourite Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-4 in the Zhuhai final and climbed to 15th in the world singles rankings, the highest of her career.

"It's been a truly phenomenal year," said the 22-year-old, who also made the WTA finals for doubles in Singapore last month.

"My goal is to stay top 20 and try and consolidate as best I can. We've been able to do that and come away with a couple of titles as well, and still being very successful in doubles.

"It's been a really, really amazing year."

The ninth seed imposed herself early in the match, winning the first four games on her way to taking the first set comfortably.

Wang, the 11th seed, fought back in the second, but failed to capitalise on two break points in the fourth game.

Barty, however, took her chance to break in the seventh game and finished off the 83-minute victory with a flamboyant backhand smash.

The champion clenched her fists in celebration before hugging her opponent over the net.

Asked what she will be doing now that the season has finished, Barty said: "Now we get to go home to celebrate and then prepare for bigger and better things in 2019, starting with the Australian summer."

Barty lost her first round-robin match against Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 6-4, but a 6-3, 6-4 win over Caroline Garcia was enough for her to qualify for the semi-final on Saturday, when she beat defending champion Julia Goerges 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

With her colourful hair braids, her opponent was the crowd favourite at the Hengqin International Tennis Center, and fans had been hoping to see a repeat performance of Saturday night's semi-final when the 26-year-old crushed Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-0.

China's number one did not initially qualify for the tie, but took advantage of a late call-up following an injury to Madison Keys and cruised to victory over double grand slam winner Muguruza.

Asked in her post-match press conference about her preparation for the two unexpected matches, Wang said: "Well, I'm not prepared.

"I was just called upon yesterday and I won yesterday. I was very happy. Today, I lost. I'm not that happy.

"However, I'm leaving today so I can go on my vacation finally."

The Elite Trophy features 12 players ranked roughly from nine to 20, and is set to be played in Zhuhai until 2019. This year's total prize money was $2.35 million across the singles and doubles tournaments.

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