Alternate Kiki Bertens, who entered the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen draw earlier today when Naomi Osaka withdrew due to a right shoulder injury, victoriously opened her appearance at the prestigious $14,000,000 tournament by defeating world No.1 Ashleigh Barty in the Red Group, 3-6 6-3 6-4.
The 27-year-old Bertens, looking great in Fila’s new Heritage collection, held serve only once in the opening set and then twice trailed by a break in the second set, at 2-1 and 3-2, when Barty started playing poorly and lost eight games in a row to allow her opponent to lead 4-0 in the decider. After seven deuces, Barty finally held serve and started her recovery, approaching Bertens to 4-5. The Dutchwoman, though, didn’t let the opportunity slip by and closed out the match on serve at the first opportunity.
This is the first time in six career meetings that Bertens has defeated Barty.
Last season Bertens made her debut at the WTA Finals and advanced into the last four, losing to eventual champion Elina Svitolina. This time, she entered the Red Group after the player she replaced, Naomi Osaka, had already won one round-robin match, meaning that if some other player wins the equal number of matches, the player to advance to the semis will not be Bertens, because her match count in the group will be lower.