Shenzhen: Ashleigh Barty has sealed her place in the semi-finals of the elite season-ending championships and eliminated Petra Kvitova with a decisive 6-4, 6-2 win over the dual Wimbledon champion.
Rebounding from her last-up pool loss to Kiki Bertens, Barty delivered the most impressive serving display of the WTA Finals thus far to top the red group in Shenzhen with a 2-1 record for the week.
The first eight matches of the tournament had produced an extraordinary 65 service breaks – at an average of one every three games – on the notoriously slow purple indoor court.
But, clutch under pressure, Barty was unbroken on Thursday night, winning 79 per cent of points after landing her first delivery and firing down six aces.
And she needed to be, with Kvitova playing typically aggressive tennis in her desperate attempt to remain in the semi-finals hunt.
Attacking at every opportunity, the Czech pounced on anything remotely short, especially second serves, winning 61 per cent of rallies after Barty faulted.
Barty stayed cool, breaking Kvitova in the fifth game of the opening set and twice more in the second, which was enough to give Australia’s top seed her third straight win over the world No.6.
“I felt like I executed really well tonight,” Barty said.
“I knew I had to play aggressively and it was important when I was serving to keep my nose in front.
“It’s really exciting to have another chance to play again here on this beautiful court.”