The world No1, Ashleigh Barty, earned tenniss biggest purse of $4.42m for winning the WTA Finals in Shenzhen by beating Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-3
Ashleigh Barty arrived for her final showdown in Shenzhen against Elina Svitolina having been beaten by her in all five of their previous meetings. But in the time since Svitolina last defeated her in March, Barty has won the French Open and reached No 1. On Sunday she showed emphatically just how far she has come by outclassing Svitolina 6-4, 6-3 to win the WTA Finals and its $4.42m (3.42m) cheque, the biggest prize money in tennis history.
Bizarre, if Im being completely honest, she said of her victory, according to the Womens Tennis Association. It feels like its been a year that just hasnt stopped. Its been a year of incredible ups and downs I think more ups than downs. To cap it off with a very, very special night tonight in Shenzhen is really cool.
It is difficult to think of many downs. Barty started the season ranked 15th without a grand slam quarter-final to her name and she finishes it as the best player in the world. Her rise to the summit has been unique in its swiftness she did not break into the top 10 until March, when she won the Miami Open, yet four tournaments later she had won at Roland Garros and Birmingham to become world No 1.
In recent years the womens game has seen many players struggle with the pressure and increased expectations inseparable from winning grand slam titles, yet Barty has played quality tennis throughout.
Against the defences of Svitolina on the notoriously slow courts of Shenzhen, the Australian produced one of the best performances of her career and took her game to yet another level. Both players came out serving well but it was Barty who patiently dictated from the baseline with her forehand, while lacing her game with swift forays to the net, drop shots and her skidding slice. She was first to break serve in the final game of the first set by which time she had fired 19 winners past Svitolina.