11/4/2018 2:13:20 PM

Barty claims WTA Elite Trophy with victory over Wang

Barty claims WTA Elite Trophy with victory over Wang

Zhuhai, China: Australia's Ashleigh Barty won the WTA Elite Trophy in China on Sunday, beating home favourite Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-4.

The ninth seed imposed herself early in the match in Zhuhai, winning the first four games on her way to taking the first set comfortably.

Wang, the 11th seed, fought back in the second, but failed to capitalise on two break points in the fourth game.

Barty, however, took her chance to break in the seventh game and finished off the 83-minute victory with a flamboyant backhand smash.

The 22-year-old champion clenched her fists in celebration before hugging her opponent over the net.

With her colourful hair braids, China's number one Wang was the crowd's favourite at the Hengqin International Tennis Center, and fans had been hoping to see a repeat performance of Saturday night's semi-final when the 26-year-old crushed Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-0.

Wang did not initially qualify for the tie, but took advantage of a late call-up following an injury to Madison Keys and cruised to victory over double grand slam winner Muguruza.

Asked in her post-match press conference about her preparation for the two unexpected matches, Wang said: "Well, I'm not prepared. 

"I was just called upon yesterday and I won yesterday. I was very happy. Today, I lost. I'm not that happy. 

"However, I'm leaving today so I can go on my vacation finally."

Barty lost her first round-robin match against Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 6-4, but a 6-3, 6-4 win over Caroline Garcia was enough for her to qualify to semi-final on Saturday, when she beat defending champion Julia Goerges 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Now in its fourth year the Elite Trophy features 12 players ranked roughly from nine to 20. This year's total prize money is $2.35 million across the singles and doubles tournaments.

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