Australian tennis sensation Ashleigh Barty has capped off a remarkable season with a dominant 6-4, 6-3 straight sets win over world No.8 Elinia Svitolina of Ukraine at the 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen.
The win sees Barty lift the Billie Jean King Trophy for the first time in her career and take home a whopping 4.42 million US dollars (6.4 million AUD), the largest amount ever awarded to any player in the history of tennis.
Barty entered the match having not beaten Svitolina in their previous five meetings, and she was 3-2 in finals appearances this season which saw her lift her maiden Grand Slam trophy at Roland Garros. However, the win sees Barty tie with Karolina Pliskova as the season leaders in titles.
Svitolina on the other hand hadn’t beaten a top five player or made an appearance in a final this season. But she had been successful in the finals in which she played in, going 13-2 in finals since 2013 with the loss snapping a nine-match finals win streak.
Both players held their respective service games early on, with neither facing a break point in their first four service games. Svitolina broke the deadlock in the ninth game of the match, creating the first break point on Barty’s serve, but it was Barty who dug deep and held strong to hold her serve.
The next game saw Barty go up 0-40 to create three set points on Svitolina’s serve, and despite botching the first two opportunities; it proved to be third time lucky as she converted with a passing forehand down the line to take out the opening set 6-4.
Barty continued her momentum into the second set, dropping two points in her opening service game before fighting Svitolina to deuce on hers. But she failed to create a break point as Svitolina not only held serve, but took the first break of the set the following game.
Trailing 1-2, Barty regained her composure and immediately broke back to tie proceedings at 2-2, before going on to take the next games to take what would soon become a title-winning 4-2 lead.
Barty had a hiccup in the seventh game as she allowed Svitolina to break back, but Svitolina was unable to hold serve the next game which saw Barty break immediately, before keeping her cool to hold her serve and take out her first WTA Finals win.
The wins caps off an incredible season for the current no.1, as she ended an eight-year Australian Grand Slam drought with her win at Roland Garros. Her switch to cricket seems like years ago, but it appears that she has made the right choice in coming back to the sport she made a name for herself in.
Speaking after the game, Barty was in a joyous mood.
“It’s been the most incredible year for me. But first and foremost, congratulations to Elina and your team. You’ve had an exceptional year and you’re one of the toughest competitors on the tour. I know that we will have many more battles in the future,” Barty said of Svitolina.
“Thank you also to the city of Shenzhen. It’s been [the start of a] new era in women’s tennis and it’s been incredible to play here in front of this spectacular crowd,” she continued.