Australia’s world no. 1 Ash Barty faced Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina in the WTA Finals final. The winner would walk away with the largest winner’s purse in tennis history.
Barty opened the serving and dropped just three points on serve over the opening three games against Svitolina the defending champion.
Ukraine’s Svitolina went into the final unbeaten and also held a 4-0 head-to-head record against the Australian world no. 1.
Both players were holding serve with ease and no player face deuce until Barty in the ninth game after she hit an unforced error into the net.
The first break opportunity came on the next point when Svitolina hit a winner. She could not convert as she hit wide. Barty brought up Ad with a great down the line passing shot.
Another Barty unforced error saw her go back to deuce. A few points later Barty was able to escape from that game to lead 5-4.
In the tenth game Svitolina opened with two unforced errors to fall behind 0-30. Barty eased the pressure when she missed badly on a second serve forehand return, then another unforced error got it to 30-30.
Barty earned her first break point when she hit a forehand winner from mid-court. It was also a set point for the Australian but she pushed a forehand wide to waste that opportunity. A well hit forehand which forced Svitolina to lob saw Barty smash a winner to earn a second set point.
Barty made a move to the net looking to claim the set but Svitolina handled the pressure and slotted a passing shot down the line.
A kind net cord for Barty saw the ball trickle over to bring up a third set point. Svitolina presented Barty a short second serve that Barty stepped into and hit a forehand winner to take the first set 6-4.
Barty held easily to open the second set before putting pressure on Svitolina’s serve in the second game but the Ukrainian escaped the game to see the score at 1-1.
Barty sliced long to fall to 15-30 in the third game of the set. A repeat of an unforced slice error, that this time went into the net gave Svitolina two break points. A double-fault handed the game to her opponent.
After Barty hit a drop shot to bring Svitolina to the net and then hit a second shot down the line that just caught the edge of the line the Australian was at 30-30.
A forehand winner gave her a break-back-point which she converted after great court coverage that was sealed by a smash winner.
Barty held to love to move to 3-2.
Svitolina called her coach to the sideline after that game.
A shot that was called in on the sideline was challenged by Barty and was shown to be out for Barty to move to 0-15 in the sixth game.
An unforced error from Barty and then a winner from Svitolina as she attacked the net saw the defending champion at 30-15 before she hit wide to have the score at 30-30.
A break point was for Barty after Svitolina hit a forehand into the net. As Barty had done earlier in the set it was a double fault by Svitolina that handed the break to her opponent. Barty was now ahead 4-2.
Some amazing court coverage by Barty on the third point saw her move to 30-15 but then a backhand into the net have Svitolina some hope. A double-fault served up a break-back-point to the Ukrainian. With the court open down the line Barty pushed her shot wide to let Svitolina back into the match.
The seventh game showed how quickly momentum could change. Barty looked set to move to 5-2 however a few errors and it was back on serve at 3-4 with Svitolina serving.
The players traded winners to open the eighth game. Another winner from Barty gave her 15-30. Barty was toying with Svitolina on the next point and she worked her way to the net to volley for 15-40.
The net cord this time favoured Svitolina as a Barty shot hit the net cord and then fell back on the Australian’s side. An unforced error then a forced error saw Svitolina move to Ad.
Svitolina hit a backhand into the net to see the score at deuce. Barty looked to be in control of the next point before a good lob from Svitolina saw her push Barty to the baseline before the Australian made an error.
Barty had Svitolina on the run before forcing an error from the Ukrainian for another break point. A backhand that went wide from Svitolina saw Barty move to 5-3 and with the opportunity to serve for the Billy Jean King trophy.
Svitolina was again off target as she hit wide to give Barty the first point. A backhand wide to the other sideline saw Barty two point from victory. Barty pushed Svitolina deep and it was championship point for Barty.
The title was hers after Svitolina hit a forehand into the net. The final score was 6-4, 6-3 after 1 hour 26 minutes.
Barty’s winning check of $4.42 million is the biggest ever in professional tennis.
This capped off an amazing year for Barty on the WTA tour but there is one more goal for the Australian as she will fly to Perth to lead Australia in the Fed Cup final against France.
France’s Kristina Mladenovic teamed up with Timea Babos to defend their doubles title. They defeated Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-3.
Mladenovic will be facing Barty in Perth as part of the French team.
At the start of the year Robicia tennis shared a cruise on Sydney Harbour with Barty and several other players including then no. 1 Simona Halep.
Barty spoke about having all four of her wisdom teeth pulled out at the start of the off season, and about her four dogs who are “energetic and a good use for four extra pillows when you need them.” Barty also shared that her ultimate goal for the year is to get in the top 10, and she also wants to go deeper in the grand slams.
The likeable Australian exceeded all expectations in 2019.
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