Zhuhia | Barty ends Goerges title defence
Australia’s Ashleigh Barty reached the biggest final of her career by upsetting defending champion Julia Goerges’ run at the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai on Saturday.
I mean, it's obviously very kind of people that they like to watch my game, like to watch me play, and I try my best to play in the correct manner, with sportsmanship, competing, and then obviously with a little bit of flare as well Ashleigh Barty
The German, who celebrated her 30th birthday on Friday, took the opening set of their semi-final encounter but could not stop the young Aussie’s impressive comeback.
Rallying from a set and a break down, Barty scored her first win over Goerges, 4-6 6-3 6-2, in an hour and 47 minutes.
Barty feared her tournament was over after her round-robin stage debut in Zhuhai ended with defeat to Aryna Sabalenka, but a key result fell her way before she overwhelmed Gorges.
While the 22-year-old World No 19 had to rely on Caroline Garcia beating Sabalenka to emerge from Orchid Group with a positive games differential, defeating Goerges was solely down to her.
The German looked on course to extend her title defence after securing a late break to take the opening set.
Barty was also broken early in the second, but the momentum then shifted once she broke the World No 14 twice to send the contest into a decider.
She then made the ideal start to the third set by again breaking Goerges to love, and there was no way back for the favourite.
Goerges had already flirted with elimination in the Rose Group before she snuck home against Belgian Elise Mertens, but Barty proved a more ruthless opponent despite recording 6 double faults.
The Aussie also slammed down 8 aces over the course of the match, against Goerges’ 7.
Barty topped the tour this year for the percentage of service points won, level with Goerges on 63.3%, before the tournament, and has now hit 295 aces this season, behind tour leader Goerges (484), Karolina Pliskova (393) and Bertens (325).
Last month, the New York Times named her serve, with her forehand and volley, in a poll about the best shots in the game.
“I think my family sent me that article,” Barty revealed in the post-match press conference after she beat Garcia. “I kindly put it straight in the trash. I don’t read too many things that are written about me.
“I mean, it’s obviously very kind of people that they like to watch my game, like to watch me play, and I try my best to play in the correct manner, with sportsmanship, competing, and then obviously with a little bit of flare as well.
“But, no, it is very kind that I think a few people in the world like watching me play. It’s certainly fun playing. I try bringing that exciting, fun, kind of free brand of tennis as much as I can.”
Now in her 6th WTA final, bidding to reach her 3rd title, Barty will look to win the biggest title of her career against either Garbiñe Muguruza or Wang Qiang, who moved into the semi-finals as an alternate when Azaela Group winner Madison Keys withdrew due to a knee injury.