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French Open champion Barty the first player to qualify for the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 9 Sep 2019
  • Ashleigh Barty is the first player to qualify for the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen
  • The season-ending championship features the top eight players of the season
Ashleigh Barty is the first player to qualify for the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen (PA Sports)

French Open champion Ashleigh Barty has qualified for the 2019 WTA Finals.


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Ashleigh Barty is the first player to secure her spot at the 2019 WTA Finals, the season-ending championship which will be played in Shenzhen for the first time this year.

Barty holds the French Open trophy (PA Sports)
The WTA confirmed that Barty has qualified for the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen after it became mathematically impossible for her to be overtaken by enough other players by the end of the season to knock her out of the eight-player field.

The WTA Finals features the eight singles players who have accumulated the most ranking points over the course of the calendar year, with the standings tracked by the Porsche Road to Shenzhen.

Barty has played doubles at the WTA Finals before but will be making her singles debut at the event in 2019, after having played the second-tier season-ending championships, the WTA Elite Trophy, in Zhuhai for the past two years, winning it in 2018.

The Australian has racked up several notable achievements in a career-best 2019 so far, chiefly winning her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open in June when she beat Marketa Vondrousova in the final.

Barty also made the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January and the fourth rounds of Wimbledon and the US Open, making her the only player on the WTA Tour to have reached at least the fourth round at all four majors in 2019.


In addition to winning the French Open, Barty also claimed the Premier Mandatory Miami Open title in March, defeating three top-10 players - Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens and Karolina Pliskova - on the way - and won the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham in June, compiling a 15-match winning streak from the first round in Paris to the last 16 of Wimbledon where she lost to Alison Riske. Barty was also the runner-up to Kvitova at the Premier-level Apia International Sydney in January. She is 45-9 in 2019.

'It’s been a goal from the very start of the year to qualify for the WTA Finals in Shenzhen,' Barty said. 'I’m proud of the work my team and I have put in to get to this point, and I’m honored to be among the top eight players of the season.'

Barty is the first Australian to compete in singles at the season-ending championships since Samantha Stosur did so in 2011-12. She is hoping to become the first Australian champion since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won her second title in 1976 - and she will like her chances, given that the WTA Finals has crowned four different and first-time champions over the past four years.

Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka with the US Open women's doubles trophy (PA Sports)
US Open champions Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka have also become qualified for the season-ending championships, which also features the eight best teams of the year. They are the second team to qualify behind Wimbledon champions Barbora Strycova and Su-Wei Hsieh, and clinched their spot when they defeated Barty and Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 7-5 in Sunday's final.

Mertens and Sabalenka are both better known as singles players but teamed up to win the 'Sunshine Double' - claiming the titles at Indian Wells and Miami in the same year - in 2019. They also made the semifinals of the French Open.

Mertens will be making her second appearance at the season-ending championships, having played with Demi Schuurs in 2018 when the tournament was held in Singapore for the final time. They lost their only match to Barty and her then-partner Coco Vandeweghe

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep is next in line to qualify for the WTA Finals, although she has only a six-point lead on Karolina Pliskova and is less than 100 points ahead of US Open champion Bianca Andreescu. Halep was scheduled to play the Zhengzhou Open this week but withdrew due to an ankle injury. Pliskova and defending WTA Finals champion Elina Svitolina are in the field.

The WTA Finals will be played in Shenzhen from 27 October-3 November 2019.


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French Open champion Barty the first player to qualify for the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen

Ashleigh Barty has been confirmed as the first singles player to qualify for the WTA's 2019 season-ending championships, the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, as US Open champions Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka became the first doubles team to secure their spot

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