Wang Qiang Stuns Muguruza to reach Zhuhai WTA Elite Trophy final

Tanya Simon
November 7, 2018

Wang, 26, earned her place in the final by beating Spain's Garbine Muguruza on Saturday, having been drafted in to play the semifinal after American Madison Keys withdrew with a knee injury.

The decider was a thriller for the fans at the Hengqin International Tennis Center, who witnessed some nailbiting tennis as the players fought toe-to-toe.

Barty, who took a break from tennis earlier in her career to play cricket, has proved nearly unbeatable when she has won the first set this year as she has solidified her position in the world top 20.

As Barty attacked, China's No. 1 was struggling to hold onto her own serve let alone mount a counter-attack, and the Australian sealed the victory with a perfectly executed backhand crosscourt volley.

China's number one did not initially qualify for the tie, but took advantage of a late call-up following an injury to Madison Keys and cruised to victory over double grand slam victor Muguruza. The Australian won their last and only head-to-head clash in straight sets earlier this year.

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A straight-sets win, or even a loss in three sets, would have been enough for 20-year-old Sabalenka, but the tournament's youngest player joins Garcia in being eliminated from the tourney.

Muguruza said Wang's performance was "excellent", adding: "She was playing incredible shots and not missing anything". "I was solid; it was much better than yesterday. So it's still a win, but, of course, it's disappointment to finish third".

The ninth seed imposed herself early in the match in Zhuhai, winning the first four games on her way to taking the first set comfortably.

While Barty flourished, Wang sprayed the ball wide and long all too often and, although she got back into the set, nothing was going to stop her opponent moving ahead. This year's total prize money was US$2.35 million across the singles and doubles tournaments.

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