Sport Ash Barty's 2019 prize money earnings pass $10 million at WTA Finals in Shenzhen
Barty handed tough draw at WTA Tour Finals
Ashleigh Barty is poised to become Australia's first year-end world No.1 tennis player since Lleyton Hewitt in 2002 but has a tough draw at the WTA Finals.All but guaranteed the year-end world No.1 ranking regardless of her showing in Shenzhen, Barty has been thrust into a devilish pool containing both this year's Australian Open finalists - champion Naomi Osaka and runner-up Petra Kvitova - plus Swiss prodigy Belinda Bencic.
Ashleigh Barty is not only the top-ranked player in women's tennis, but also the tour's richest performer in 2019 after crashing through the $10 million prize money barrier for the season.
Barty's one-from-two record so far at the lucrative WTA Finals has taken her on-court earnings for the year to an eye-watering $10.93 million.
Barty beats Bencic in WTA Finals opener
World No.1 Ashleigh Barty has all but secured her year-end world No.1 ranking after beating Belinda Bencic 5-7 6-1 6-2 in her WTA Finals opener.Unless disaster strikes and she can't walk on court again this week and Karolina Pliskova takes the title, Barty's 5-7 6-1 6-2 win over Belinda Bencic on Sunday night earned the 23-year-old a place in tennis history as the first Australian woman to finish a season in top spot since rankings were introduced in 1973.
The unprecedented windfall for an Australian player in a single season has more than doubled her entire career earnings.
Barty would be guaranteed at least $1.45 million for the week if she made the last four in Shenzhen — and could land a $5.98 million pot of gold with victory in Sunday's final.
But even if she loses and misses the semi-finals, the 23-year-old will leave China $890,000 better off.
The true beauty of it all for Barty, not that money's the motivation, is that her finals fate remains very much in her own hands.
Barty won her opening clash at the finals, beating Swiss world number seven Belinda Bencic in three sets 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.
then suffered a shock defeat to Naomi Osaka's late injury replacement Kiki Bertens, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, to leave her semi-finals chances in the balance.
Barty's plan to continue raising the bar
Not content with the year-end world No.1 ranking, Ashleigh Barty is intent on booking a spot in the WTA Finals with a win over Naomi Osaka on Tuesday night.Three years after returning to tennis following a stint playing professional cricket, Barty only needs to step on court and play one point against Naomi Osaka on Tuesday night at the WTA Finals to officially clinch the season-ending top ranking.
All four players in Barty's pool remain in contention heading into Thursday's final round-robin matches, but the equation is simple for Australia's world number one.
Beat Petra Kvitova and she will top the Red Group and advance to Saturday's semi-finals.
If she loses, Barty could still sneak into the semis if she takes a set from Kvitova and Kiki Bertens defeats Belinda Bencic in three sets.
Such a scenario would require a complicated countback involving games won and lost by each of the competitors.
But the best bet for Barty is to beat Kvitova, as she has done in their past two meetings this year, most recently this month in Beijing.
Kvitova — who has suffered consecutive defeats to Osaka, before her withdrawal, and Bencic — incredibly still has an outside chance of making her way through to the semi-finals, and despite her two recent defeats against Barty, previously had a 4-0 record in meetings between the pair.
The dual Wimbledon champion edged Barty in a thrilling three-set final in Sydney this year before toppling her for the fourth-straight time in the Australian Open quarter-finals in January.
"I've played Petra a number of times this year. Each match has been exceptionally tough. We've kind of split them a little bit," Barty said.
"Conditions are different here. [It] changes things a little bit.
"We'll figure out a way we'll nullify her strengths and get it back to my patterns as much as we can."
If she progresses, Barty will play either titleholder Elina Svitolina, Wimbledon champion Simona Halep or Karolina Pliskova for a spot in the final.
World No. 1 Barty defeats Garcia to level Fed Cup final .
Australian Ash Barty continued her season-long extraordinary form to beat France's Caroline Garcia 6-0, 6-0 and level the Fed Cup final at 1-1 on Saturday. Australian Ash Barty continued her season-long extraordinary form to beat France's Caroline Garcia 6-0, 6-0 and level the Fed Cup final at 1-1 on Saturday.