Ashleigh Barty secures dream end to year with Zhuhai success

Ashleigh Barty Zhuhai 2018

Ashleigh Barty Zhuhai 2018

"I think I had to try an assert myself a little bit earlier in points", she said.

Sixth seed Madison Keys pulled out of the WTA Elite Trophy in China with a knee injury on Saturday.

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.

As Barty attacked, China's No. 1 was struggling to hold onto her own serve let alone mount a counter-attack, and the Australian sealed the victory with a perfectly executed backhand crosscourt volley.

In the final of the WTA Elite Trophy Ashleigh Barty will compete for the third title in his career.

"I know that whenever I have played Q in the past, it's always been an extremely tough match", Barty told WTA Media.

Wang made a good use of the Australian's hasty serve and set the score to 4-3. "Now we get to go home to celebrate that and then prepare for bigger and better things in 2019, starting with the Australian summer", Barty said.

Barty feared her tournament was over after her round robin stage debut in Zhuhai ended with defeat to Aryna Sabalenka - but a key result fell her way before she overwhelmed defending champion Julia Gorges in Saturday's first semi-final, 4-6 6-3 6-2.

"That's a really neat way to finish off the year", she said.

The win caps another strong year for Barty who had started 2017 ranked 325th in the world after a two-year sabbatical from the game and spending time playing cricket. It was invincible when she won the first set this year.

Contesting 2018 Zhuhai at a career-high ranking of No.22 (first posted October 22, 2018), having broken Top 30 after the memorable Wuhan run, the Chinese claimed the 36th tour-level win of the season, the first she has registered 30 or more main draw victories in a single year.

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