Shenzhen, Oct 27 : World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia came back from a set down to defeat No. 7 Belinda Bencic of Sweden 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 in their red group round-robin clash at the 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals here on Sunday.
It was the first-ever meeting between the two players, and they opened up the encounter with a battle of attrition in the first set that saw both players serve out to 5-all, before Bencic got a crucial break off a series of forehand unforced errors from Barty to go up 6-5 and nab a chance to serve for the set, which she sealed with a spectacular cross-court ace.
Barty had a rough first set, coughing up 20 unforced errors off abysmal 49 percent first service shooting over the course of the 49-minute period. Barty's forehand and her slice, typically two of her better shots, were not finding their mark in the opener.
But Barty is known for the second-set comeback, and that is exactly what she pulled off here. Her forehand roared back to life as she fired off five aces on 75 percent first service shooting on the way to building up a 5-0 lead.
Bencic managed to take Barty to break point as she served for the set at 6-1, but was unable to convert. The Swede then called a medical time out for what appeared to be an ankle issue.
The two players held their services to 1-all in the decider, but Barty began to show considerable strength on return, going two breaks up on the way to serving for the match at 5-2.
Barty's turnaround is evident in the match stats. She fired seven of her 11 aces and only had nine unforced errors combined the second and third sets, sealing up her opening win here in Shenzhen in just under one hour.
Round-robin singles action continues tomorrow with the first pair of matches in the purple group. (XINHUA)