WTA Finals: Ashleigh Barty breezes past Petra Kvitova to storm into semi-finals

Top-ranked Ash Barty reached the semifinals in her debut appearance at the WTA Finals, beating Petra Kvitova 6-4, 6-2 Thursday to finish with a 2-1 record in the Red Group.

Barty, the first Australian woman to earn year-end No. 1 ranking, won her first Grand Slam trophy at the French Open in June and then reached the top of the rankings.

“I feel like I executed really well tonight,” Barty said on court. “Overall, I knew I had to come out here and play aggressively, and play to win.

“I’m really excited to have another chance to come out and play here on this beautiful court.”

Barty saved all four break points she faced in the first set and broke Kvitova’s serve in the fifth game. The Czech player posted 20 unforced errors in the opening set.

In the first game of the second set, Barty broke Kvitova’s serve on her third break point and quickly jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

Kvitova, who won the season-ending title in her debut in 2011, finished the round robin 0-3 for the second consecutive year.

In the late match, Kiki Bertens will play Belinda Bencic with the winner advancing to the semifinals. Bertens entered the tournament as an alternate after Naomi Osaka withdrew on Tuesday with a right shoulder injury.

Also Thursday, Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the tournament with a left knee injury. She will be replaced by Sofia Kenin for the final round robin match on Friday against defending champion Elina Svitolina.

“I had a scan Thursday to check my knee after last night’s match, and unfortunately the results show that I need to withdraw,” Andreescu said. “I’m very disappointed to not be able to finish the year on my terms, but I am hopeful I will have more chances to play here in the future.”

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