Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Ashleigh Barty secures dream end to year with Zhuhai success

Ashleigh Barty secures dream end to year with Zhuhai success

Garbine Muguruza will face Wang Qiang in the last four of the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai after Madison Keys pulled out.

She saved four of six break points and hit 22 winners to Wang's 15 as she closed out victory in 83 minutes.

Barty lost her first round-robin match to Aryna Sabalenka 4-6, 4-6, but a 6-3, 6-4 win over Caroline Garcia was enough for her to qualify for the semifinal.

"I just relaxed very well, there's no pressure", Wang said at her post-match press conference.

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Barty burst out of the blocks against Wang to take a 4-0 lead but, just as it looked like the opening set was over, the Chinese took advantage of some sloppy service games from her opponent to get back to 4-3.

Barty took full advantage, taking down world No.14 and defending champion Julia Goerges in the semifinal before beating Wang in the decider, collecting A$828,000 for her week's work.

The ninth seed grew into the semi-final match against Germany's Goerges, seeded fifth, and dominated the third set to book her place in Sunday's showdown in Zhuhai. Barty consolidated her level in tennis and broke into the top 20 in the world.

"It's been a great finish in China this week", said Barty, who completes her season in the best possible way.

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It was Barty's third WTA title after her triumphs on grass at the Nottingham Open earlier this year and at the 2017 Malaysian Open but by far her biggest. "I'm very excited that it's finished now, time for some vacation and "relax" time before we gear up for the Australian summer".

"It has been a phenomenal year, it really has".

The writing looked to be on the wall when Barty fell a set and a break down, but she demonstrated admirable resilience to force what proved a one-sided decider.

Wang replaced Madison Keys at the eleventh hour, after the American who won the Azalea Group was forced to withdraw due to a left knee injury.

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