Ashleigh Barty was never endangered in her round-robin match against Petra Kvitova and confidently climbed to the top position in the Red Group with a 6-4 6-2 victory at the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen on Thursday.
The first set was pretty close, even though Barty steadily progressed through it by securing a break to go 3-2 up and straightforwardly fighting her way through the remaining games. The top seed saved all of four break points she faced against inconsistent Kvitova, including three in the sixth game which would have leveled the score to 3-3. The second set was a breeze for the Australian world No.1, who is making her singles debut at the WTA Finals.
The 29-year-old Kvitova is now on an eight-match losing streak at the tournament and three-match losing streak to Barty.
After making a winning start at the season-ending event against Belinda Bencic, Barty lost to alternate Kiki Bertens, and has now secured her place in the semifinals as her group’s leader with this straight-set triumph over Kvitova. So far we know two semifinalists, as defending champion Elina Svitolina advanced out of the Purple Group yesterday.