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By Alberto Amalfi | Saturday, November 2, 2019

 
ASh Barty

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty battled past No.2 Karolina Pliskova 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 bursting into her sixth final of the season at the WTA Finals Shenzhen.

Photo credit: WTA Finals Shenzhen Facebook

In a tense duel between the world's top two, world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty was in no mood to come out second best.

Barty battled back from a set down defeating second-ranked Karolina Pliskova 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 bursting into her sixth final of the season at the WTA Finals Shenzhen.

More: Svitolina Surges Into WTA Finals Title Match

The top-seeded Barty will face defending champion Elina Svitolina in tomorrow's final. 




The eighth-seeded Svitolina held a a 5-7, 6-3, 4-1 lead over Belinda Bencic when the seventh-seeded Swiss retired from today's first semifinal with an assortment of injuries.

It was the 25-year-old Ukrainian's ninth straight victory at the season ending event. Svitolina has dominated the world No. 1 winning all five of their prior meetings, including a tough 7-6(8), 5-7, 6-4 decision at Indian Wells in March.

Barty is bidding for her fourth title of the season and biggest since she won her maiden major at Roland Garros in June.

"I've got nothing to lose," Barty told Andrew Krasny afterward. "I get to come out and enjoy and try to end my regular season really well. It's an opportunity against a really tough player."



Facing the powerful Pliskova today, Barty beat the Czech to the ball and used her biting slice backhand to make the tall Czech bend low and scrape shots off her shoes.

It was the first WTA Finals match of the world's top two players since Maria Sharapova defeated Victoria Azarenka in the 2012 semifinals.

Facing the WTA ace leader, the 5'5" Barty spotted her serve shrewdly. Barty banged nine aces—eight more than the 6' Pliskova—and was broken just once in the match.

The second-seeded Pliskova broke for a 3-2 lead in the opener. Pliskova saved a break point and converted her second set point to build a one-set lead.

After that break, Barty reeled off 11 consecutive holds denying all four break points she faced in the second set.

Growing in her groove, Barty won 16 of the first 18 points played on her serve in the final set.




The 23-year-old Aussie broke for a 4-2 lead in the final set and converted her third match point closing in one hour, 53 minutes.

It was Barty's fourth win in six meetings vs. Pliskova, including her 7-6 (1), 6-3 triumph in the Miami Open final in March to claim her fourth career championship and first Premier title.

Pliskova fell at the WTA Finals semifinal stage for the third time.

 

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