Aussie comeback player Ashleigh Barty won her first WTA tour singles title at the ALYA Malaysian Open, in the final defeating Japan’s unseeded Nao Hibino 6-3, 6-2.
Barty reached the main draw through the qualifying rounds, and did not face a seeded player in the main draw.
The Aussie returned to the WTA tour after taking a year off to play cricket in the Women’s Big Bash League for Brisbane Heat.
“I think it’s been a success for us, the start [of 2017], more successful than we thought,” she said after the match. “It’s a tribute to all the work we did in the off-season, and last year, coming back. It hasn’t quite been 12 months since I started playing singles again. I’m certainly happy to be back.”
It was the first career singles final for the 20-year-old, who has won two doubles titles in six career finals, finishing runner-up at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open in 2013.
“Nao is playing an amazing week, had some fantastic results,” said Barty. “I was ready to go and did the best that I could tonight — and thankfully it was enough to get over the line.”
With the win Barty rose from 158 to No. 92 on the WTA rankings.
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