Tennis - Australia's Ashleigh Barty has qualified for the season-ending WTA Finals which would be held in Shenzhen, China from October 27th to November 3rd. The Australian is the first player to qualify for the event, which will bring together the top eight singles players and top eight doubles teams for the season.
During this year, Barty won the WTA Premier title at the Miami Open and won her first Grand Slam singles title at the French Open. She also became the World No. 1 earlier this season - the first time an Australian woman has reached the No.
1 ranking since 1976. She also won the WTA title in Birmingham and her three titles are the most won by any player this season - along with Karolina Pliskova and Bianca Andreescu, who won the US Open title on Saturday. Barty will move back to the No.
1 ranking on Monday after the US Open to spend her eighth week at the No. 1 spot. This is the first time she has qualified for the singles event at the WTA Finals - she had earlier qualified for the doubles event in 2017 with fellow Australian Casey Dellacqua and in 2018 with American Coco Vandeweghe.
The last time an Australian qualified for the season-ending WTA Finals was in 2012, when Sam Stosur played the tournament as an alternate. In doubles, the duo of Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka have also qualified for the season-ending WTA Finals.
The tournament boasts of a record prize money of $14 million and is being held in Shenzhen for the first time after being held in Singapore for the past few years.