Kiki Bertens defeated Ashleigh Barty at the WTA Finals just a few hours after she was added to the tournament as a mere replacement. The Dutch tennis star is world number 10. Bertens replaced Naomi Osaka. Earlier, Osaka withdrew from the tournament because of a shoulder injury.

Bertens was previously trailing by one set and a break. However, in the end, Barty lost 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in Shenzhen. The Australian lost seven games in a row. She couldn't recover from 3-3 in the second set, courtesy to a series of errors.

After winning for the first time against the French Open Champion, Bertens said, "It is a great atmosphere and it's the last tournament of the year so I am trying to give all the energy I have left in me. In the beginning, I wasn't playing as well and had to feel the court and got better and better as I tried to play aggressively and it turned out pretty well."

Bertens made her WTA Finals debut in 2018. She eventually reached the semi-finals before losing to Elina Svitolina, who ended up becoming the champion. Today, she started poorly and could only hold serve once out of four attempts in her first set.

Kiki Bertens
Kiki Bertens Getty

Bertens trailed twice by a break during the second set, at 2-1 and 3-2. However, Barty's level dropped. Barty showed her class when she fought back from 4-0 to 5-4 during the third set. However, Bertens utilised her opportunity and closed out the match.

Because of her late entry, Bertens will only be able to play two matches in the Red Group. However, she can still qualify for the semi-finals. She will next face Switzerland's Belinda Bencic on Thursday.

On the other hand, Barty could have qualified for the semis with a match to spare. However, for that, she needed to beat Bertens. BBC reports that she will get another opportunity against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova next Thursday.

The WTA Finals event is participated by the world's top eight players. They compete across two round-robin groups of four. The winners and runners-up from each of the groups advance to the semi-finals.