AUSSIE starlet Ashleigh Barty showed Carolina Garcia no mercy when they met in the WTA Elite Trophy tennis tournament — but now she owes the Frenchwoman a debt of gratitude.
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The Australian expected her season to be over despite beating Garcia in Zhuhai on Thursday night, but the 22-year-old ended up advancing as the Orchid Group’s semi-finalist 24 hours later.
Garcia recovered from a back injury that hampered her performance against Barty to stun world No.12 Aryna Sabalenka 6-4 6-4 on Friday.
The game aggregates from round-robin play ultimately left world No.19-ranked Barty as the only member of the trio to have a positive differential. Her 6-3 6-4 victory over Garcia was crucial as it meant she recorded 20 game wins to 19.
Belarusian Sabalenka, who beat Barty 6-4 6-4 in the group opener, was all square at 20-20 while Garcia also exited with 19 wins and 20 losses.
Barty now meets defending champion Julia Goerges, who was two points from elimination before the German recovered to clinch her final Rose Group clash with Belgium’s Elise Mertens 6-2 7-6 (7-5).
Top seed Goerges had been vulnerable because she had lost her first match to Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit in three sets.
Tournament second seed Anastasija Sevastova (Latvia) set up a Camellia Group showdown with Spaniard Garbine Muguruza with her victory over winless Chinese wildcard Zhang Shuai.
American Madison Keys will top the Azalea Group if she beats China’s Qiang Wang in that group’s final match.