ZHUHAI, November 1, 2017
Australian Ashleigh Barty took a significant step towards the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai semi-finals on Wednesday with a convincing 6-4, 6-1 victory over Anastasia Pavyluchenkova in the Rose Group.
“Obviously tonight I was able to execute pretty well right from the get-go. I like these conditions here. I have had a pretty good record here in Asia so far this year. Yeah, I feel like I played pretty well tonight. I felt like I was able to hit my spots well, especially when I needed it in big points,” Barty commented.
Barty plays former World No.1 Angelique Kerber in Thursday’s first match, knowing that a win will be enough to see her advance to the last four of the prestigious $2,280,935 (USD) season-ending tournament.
“I think I’m in a bit of a different position than I was in January when we played against each other. This week is just a massive bonus, to qualify for this week. And now to get a win, you know, I can just look forward to the match tomorrow and try and go out there and play with freedom again and try and put on my best tennis, and whatever happens happens,” Barty added.
Anastasia Sevastova added another big-name impressive list of top players she has defeated this season by beating a below-par Sloane Stephens 7-5, 6-3 in the Camellia Group o Wednesday. Sevastova plays Barbora Strycova on Thursday afternoon (local time) with a eye on the semi-finals.
“I was pleased with my fighting spirit for sure; like staying in every point and fighting for every point. I was always in front with a break then losing the break, so staying in there was the most important thing,” Sevastova said.
“It’s the last tournament but you have to fight. There are a lot of ranking points and a lot of money at stake. It’s a nice location here; I like the courts here and I decided to give it my all. There are amazing facilities here and amazing players, everyone is Top 20. It’s good quality tennis here.”
Stephens only 44 per cent of the total points played.
“I mean, obviously if that was in the first round of a regular tournament, that’s a super hard match to play. So right off the bat, having to play her is really tough. I mean, her game is super tricky. I mean, you have to kind of be ready for everything,” Stephens told.
“But I don’t think I played terribly. It’s just, you know, not someone you want to play in the first round of any tournament. I was happy to be playing better than my last matches, so that’s a good thing.”
“For the next match, hopefully I can play well again, just a little bit better, like, a little more consistent, less unforced errors, things like that. Just clean it up a little bit.”
Kristina Mladenovic lost to Magdelena Rybarikova on Wednesday. Despite that, she and Julia Goerges still both have an opportunity to reach the last four and will play off on Friday, though Mladenovic must win in two sets and Goerges needs only to win a set in that match to advance.
“I was kind of fighting all the way through I didn’t feel great I have to say. I had a tough match yesterday and I had to play against someone who was resting so it was not easy for me. I am happy that I went through this match because conditions were tough and I had some problems with my leg. I was saying to myself that I had to win this match because I had so many match points and it would be really cruel to end the season like this,” Rybarikova stated.
Coco Vandeweghe from the United States takes on Elena Vesnina in in Bougainvillea Group in Thursday’s night session match.
Azalea Group update:
Goerges needs to win just one set against Mladenovic to reach the semis
Mladenovic could overhaul Goerges by beating her in straights sets
Rybarikova cannot reach the semi-finals
Rose Group update:
Kerber now plays Barty. If Barty wins in either 2 or 3 sets she advances
If Kerber wins in 2 sets then Kerber advances
The Bougainvillea and Camellia groups have both only played one match to date.