Ashleigh Barty wins the WTA Elite Trophy 2018

Ashleigh Barty with the 2018 WTA Elite Trophy, Zhuhai China
Ashleigh Barty with the 2018 WTA Elite Trophy, Zhuhai China

Australian star, Ashleigh Barty won the biggest tournament of her career as she lifted the WTA Elite trophy after beating China's Wang Qiang 6-3 6-4 in the final. It was her third WTA title in addition to her triumphs at the Nottingham Open earlier this year and the 2017 Malaysian Open. She has had a breakthrough season rising to become the number 1 ranked player from Australia and also capturing the Doubles' title at the US Open along with her partner CoCo Vandeweghe.

Barty, 22, came into the final riding high on confidence after beating defending Champion and top-seed Julia Goerges in the semi-final. The first set was a topsy turvy affair with the 22-year-old racing ahead to a 4-0 lead before being pegged back to 4-3.

But the Australian held her nerve to break her opponent again and close out the first set in her service game. The second set saw a spirited Wang stage a fightback but was unable to break the Barty serve. Wang's unforced errors played a part as she handed the only break in the set to 22-year-old who seized the initiative and closed the match with a backhanded smash.

“It’s been a great finish in China this week,” said Barty who will rise to a career-high WTA ranking of 15. Luck did play a part as Barty did lose to Aryna Sabalenka in her opening round-robin match and had to rely on Caroline Garcia beating Sabalenka to make the semi-finals.

With her impressive win, Barty took home a cool $828,000 in prize money and a Top-16 seeding at the Australian Open in 2019 looks on the cards ensuring she doesn't face any stiff competition before the 4th round.

The Australian who started the year 2017 ranked a lowly 325 after taking a two-year sabbatical to pursue cricket at a professional level, has quickly risen up the ranks in the WTA charts and will have the full backing of the Australian crowd as she gears up for the Opening Grand Slam of 2019.

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Edited by Sripad
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