Ashleigh Barty has solidified her position as a consistent top-20 player this year through a series of impressive and solid results. The Australian tasted success in doubles as well; being the only player alongside Elise Mertens to participate in the doubles competition at the WTA Finals while also qualifying for the singles competition at the WTA Elite Trophy.
She is the ninth seed in Zhuhai but was drawn into an extremely tough group which could go either way. Barty has both Caroline Garcia and Aryna Sabalenka, two hard-hitting players, in her group. It would be extremely interesting to see who survives in this group.
Terrific 2018 for Barty
Having made her debut appearance in Zhuhai last year by making the semifinals, Barty started this year in the perfect way. The home favourite at the Apia International Sydney stormed to the final before losing to a resurgent Angelique Kerber in the final. She also steered past hard-hitting Aryna Sabalenka and Camila Giorgi to reach the third round of the Australian Open.
After a series of substandard performances, Barty finally found her form at the Internationaux de Strasbourg where she made the semifinals before falling to eventual champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Barty proved to be efficient on grass — claiming her first title of the year at the Nature Valley Open by defeating both Naomi Osaka and Johanna Konta in the process. She also reached the quarterfinals of the Nature Valley International although she missed out on a golden opportunity to go deep at Wimbledon.
The Australian had a fruitful US Open Series, first starting with a semifinal finish at the Rogers Cup with wins over Kiki Bertens and Alize Cornet in the process. She reached the second week at the US Open, ousting Lucie Safarova along the way.
Having reached the semifinals in Wuhan last year, Barty managed to replicate that result once more in 2018. She steered past Johanna Konta and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova while stunning third-ranked Angelique Kerber before falling to Aryna Sabalenka in the last four. Nonetheless, this impressive run ultimately sealed her qualification to Zhuhai.