Zhuhai | Barty keeps hopes alive; Kasatkina slams organisers
The WTA Elite Trophy became the centre of controversy when the top seed, Daria Kasatkina, hit out at organisers over the scheduling in Zhuhai on Wednesday.
The 21-year old Russian lost in straight sets to Madison Keys in the second match of the day that started at 5pm having finished her first outing against Wang Qiang at 10pm on Tuesday.
It’s nice to come away with a win and now I get to sit here tomorrow and enjoy the next match. But I'm certainly pleased to have had the year we've had, and really nice to finish on a positive note today. Ashleigh Barty
Earlier she had criticised the schedule, saying it ‘sucks’, and was asked by the media if she stood by her remarks at her post-match press conference.
“Yeah. I mean if they want me to pull out of the tournament then they are doing a good job, because in less than 24 hours I’ve played two matches,” a tired Kasatkina said.
“The girls [Keys and Wang] are not playing tomorrow, they are playing on Friday, and I was supposed to play two matches in less than 24 hours.
“So there’s nothing I can say, nothing I can do. I was fighting, I mean I did everything I could.
“I gave more than 100 percent of my abilities, so this is professional sport.”
The loss has effectively eliminated Kasatkina from the tournament.
Keys and Wang have played twice before this year, with Keys winning in straight-sets wins on both occasions in Doha and at the Australian Open.
On Thursday, Day 3 of the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, Australia’s Ashleigh Barty revived her hopes of a semi-final place when she defeated Caroline Garcia, 6-3 6-4, in Orchid Group action.
It was Garcia’s first outing of the week, while Barty is playing her first singles tournament in a month since suffering a shoulder injury.
The Aussie World No 19 broke the Frenchwoman’s serve early in each set, taking the lead in the opener with a break of serve in the 4th game and riding out the set.
She did the same in the second, with a second break coming in the 3rd game, and was never threatened on her own deliveries over the course of the 1 hour and 16 minute encounter, serving 5 aces in the process.
The Aussie never faced a break point in the match and won 79 percent of points she played on her first serve, plus 70 percent of the points behind her second to ensure that she would, at the very least, end her season with a win.
Barty, who lost to Aryna Sabalenka on Tuesday, now has to wait for the outcome of Garcia and Sabalenka’s match to see if she will progress to the semi-finals on Saturday.
“It’s out of my hands,” Barty said in her post-match press conference. “It’s nice to come away with a win and now I get to sit here tomorrow and enjoy the next match.
“But I’m certainly pleased to have had the year we’ve had, and really nice to finish on a positive note today.”
She added she was in a ‘win-win situation’, being able to ‘play with freedom’ and knowing that if she lost out she would go home at the end of the long season.
World No 12 Sabalenka still holds the advantage in the three-player group, and is favoured to beat Garcia in the final match-up in Zhuhai on Friday.
The Belarusian who, at the age of 20, is the youngest player in the singles draw, is making her debut here and has played Garcia twice before, earlier this year in Beijing and Cincinnati and both resulting in a win for Sabalenka in three sets.