ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA -- The WTA announced today that Ashleigh Barty and the doubles team of Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka have qualified for the 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen to be held in Shenzhen, China from October 27 through November 3 for a record-breaking $14 million in prize money.
Barty becomes the first of eight singles players to secure her spot at the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen following a standout year that saw her lift her career-first WTA Premier Mandatory trophy at the Miami Open presented by Itaú, her maiden Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros, and become the first Australian woman to reach the WTA World No.1 ranking since 1976 (Evonne Goolagong Cawley).
“It’s been a goal from the very start of the year to qualify for the WTA Finals in Shenzhen,” said Barty. “I’m proud of the work my team and I have put in to get to this point, and I’m honored to be among the Top 8 players of the season.”
Following her title run at Roland Garros, the Australian extended her match win streak to 15 matches – the longest streak on tour this season – by capturing the title at the Nature Valley Classic at Birmingham, U.K., and reaching the round of 16 at Wimbledon. With three titles to her credit, Barty is tied for the most titles won in 2019 (along with Karolina Pliskova and Bianca Andreescu).
The only player to reach the second week at all of the majors this season, Barty will reclaim the WTA World No.1 ranking on Monday, September 9, having held the top ranking for seven weeks earlier this season from June 24 through August 11.
Barty made her debut showing at the WTA Finals in the doubles field in 2017 alongside Casey Dellacqua, and returned in 2018 with CoCo Vandeweghe after the pair lifted their career first Grand Slam doubles title at the US Open.
She will become the first Australian to compete at the year-end showpiece in singles since Samantha Stosur in 2012, who filled in as an alternate when Petra Kvitova withdrew due to illness. Stosur was also the last Australian to qualify for the WTA Finals, reaching the semifinal stage in 2011.
Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka also secure their place in Shenzhen after winning their career-first Grand Slam doubles title at the US Open on Sunday.
Earlier this season, the Belgian-Belarusian duo clinched the “Sunshine Double” by lifting back-to-back trophies at the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) and Miami Open presented by Itaú, becoming the first doubles team to achieve this feat since Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza in 2015 – the same year they went on to lift the WTA Finals Martina Navratilova Trophy.
In addition, Mertens and Sabalenka advanced to the semifinals at Roland Garros and quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
“This has been an amazing year for us on the doubles court,” said Mertens. “It’s an honor to qualify for the WTA Finals for my second time, and I’m really excited to compete in Shenzhen with Aryna.”
Sabalenka added, “Shenzhen is a very special place for me – it’s where I started my season by winning the singles title and now, I’m looking forward to ending my season there – and hopefully with another trophy.”
Mertens will make her second consecutive appearance at the WTA Finals, having competed in the doubles field alongside Demi Schuurs in 2018, while Sabalenka will make her debut showing at the year-end finale. They become the second of eight doubles team to secure their position in Shenzhen following Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova, who clinched their spot earlier this month.
The 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen features the world’s best players vying for a record-breaking US$14 million in prize money and two of the most prestigious titles in women’s tennis.
The Top 8 singles players and doubles teams on the Porsche Race to Shenzhen – which includes 53 WTA tournaments and four Grand Slams – will compete in a round-robin format with the singles champion taking home the Billie Jean King Trophy and the doubles champions lifting the WTA Finals Martina Navratilova Trophy.
The winner of the Porsche Race to Shenzhen - the player who finishes in pole position earning the top seed at the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen – will not only seal a spot at the season-ending showpiece, but also be congratulated with a new Porsche.
The Porsche Race to Shenzhen Leaderboard is updated througout the season on Mondays along with the WTA Rankings and can be found at www.ShiseidoWTAFinalsShenzhen.com.
Tickets to the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen are on sale at www.ShiseidoWTAFinalsShenzhen.com.