China’s Wang Qiang and Australia’s Ashleigh Barty will face each other in the final of the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai.
The 26-year-old Wang had been eliminated during the tournament’s group phase, but Madison Keys’ withdrawal shortly before the semifinals forced the Chinese to quickly switch her thoughts from vacation to tennis and she raced into the final with a dominant 6-2 6-0 victory over two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza in one hour and 11 minutes.
At 3-2 in the first set, a tense 11-minute game full of lengthy rallies saw Wang break on her third break point and the loss of that game seemed to devastate Muguruza, who finished the match with just 14 winners to Wang’s 34.
As the WTA Insider reported on Twitter, Wang had her bags packed for her vacation tomorrow morning when she got a text message from her agent, telling her that she was into the semifinals by virtue of Keys’ knee injury withdrawal. Surprised, Wang got up off the massage table and went to the court.
Earlier on Saturday, Ashleigh Barty came from a set down and from a break down in the second set to end Julia Goerges’ title defense 4-6 6-3 6-2.
Wang and Barty are both first-time Zhuhai finalists. Barty leads Wang 1-0 in their career meetings, having defeated her in straight sets on Strasbourg’s clay earlier this season.