Ashleigh Barty of Australia wrote history on Sunday when she defeated her Chinese adversary Wang Qiang in the final of WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai. The young Australian won the match 6-3, 6-4.
Barty, who won WTA Nottingham earlier this year, needed just a little over an hour and 20 minutes to win the trophy.
She started the first set on a superb note – she broke Wang’s service twice to quickly take a 4-0 lead. However, she failed to retain her service over the course of the next couple of games. As a result, the Chinese was back in the game at 4-3, serving to even the score.
But Barty once again turned the momentum in her favor by winning another break in the next game. That break point proved to be crucial as the Australian retained her serve next to win the first set.
Wang was far more determined in the second set. At 1-1, she saved a break point to avoid Barty taking an early lead. She was at par with the Australian for most of the set. Things took a turn at 3-3 when she was broken by Barty and consequently, she went down 4-3.
The 2018 WTA Sydney runner-up didn’t lose her service thereafter and was quick to take the second set 6-4. This was Barty’s second singles title of the season.
Apart from her feat in Nottingham and Sydney, Barty also reached the semifinal in the Wuhan Open earlier this year. She repeated a similar feat in Montreal as well, where she moved past the likes of Alize Cornet and Kiki Bertens to reach the final four.
Wang, on the other hand, soared into the tournament after being the runner-up in WTA Hong Kong. She defeated many big guns like Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza before ultimately succumbing to World No. 102 Dayana Yastremska in the final.
It is fair to say that Wang got fairly lucky in Zhuhai, considering that Madison Keys withdrew from the semifinals owing to an injury. Her withdrawal paved way for Qiang, and she defeated Muguruza once again to reach the final. Her other feats include winning the WTA Nanchang and WTA Guangzhou.
Both the players will now end the 2018 WTA season at their respective career-high singles rankings. Barty will become the World No. 15 while Qiang will enter the top 20.