Barty eyes blockbuster match against Osaka

Whatever happens at the WTA Finals, Ashleigh Barty will end 2019 as world number one after beating Belinda Bencic in three sets.

Ashleigh Barty celebrates against Belinda Bencic   -  Getty Images

Ashleigh Barty sealed the end-of-year number one spot with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Belinda Bencic at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen.

French Open champion Barty was made to work for victory over the course of one hour and 57 minutes in the red group against Bencic, a fellow debutant at the WTA's showpiece event.

Fresh from her Kremlin Cup triumph, Bencic was looking to build on a streak of four consecutive victories against players ranked number one in the world.

The Swiss edged a tight opening set, saving a break point with a service winner and converting the only other on offer in the penultimate game.

A pair of double faults put Barty in peril at that point, forcing her to crank through the gears in set two – combining trademark slices with crunching forehand winners.

Her serve firing emphatically, the template was set for Barty to race to glory.