World No.19 and reigning US Open doubles champion Ashleigh Barty of Australia defeated China’s Wang Qiang 6-3 6-4 in final of the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai to win her third and biggest singles WTA title.
After losing five of the last six games to slip to a straight-sets defeat at the hands of Aryna Sabalenka in her first round-robin match, the 22-year-old Barty bounced back by producing an impressive service display – hit five aces and faced no break points – to upset Caroline Garcia and then followed it up with her fifth Top 20 win of 2018 by beating defending champion Julia Goerges in the semifinals.
Barty opened the final by winning four games in a row before the world No.22 Wang forced the match back on serve, but the Australian recorded her third break and served out to win the set. In the second set, Barty saved a break point for 2-2 and then broke the 26-year-old Wang to go up 4-3 before storming to victory.
The triumph is extending Barty’s career record against Chinese opposition to 13-1, with sole loss coming to Peng Shuai back in 2014 in Strasbourg.
Despite Sunday’s defeat, Wang has every reason to enter the off-season more than satisfied — less than six months ago she was ranked No.91, while now she’s guaranteed to break into the Top 20. Barty’s new ranking will also be a career high position No.15.