Can Elina Svitolina successfully defend her WTA Finals title when up against world number 1 Ashleigh Barty?
<div><h2>Elina Svitolina vs. Ashleigh Barty</h2><p>Sunday, November 3, Shenzhen</p><p>Despite unprecedented success at the Majors, the season was still a bit of a disappointment for Elina Svitolina. Failing to win a single title after a combined nine in the two years prior was not expected for the steady Ukranian who has usually excels at events below the Major level. She has had to battle incredibly hard to get here, overcoming various knee ailments along the way. However, once here in Shenzhen, the world no. 8 has been near invincible.</p><p>Svitolina E. - Bencic B. SF 5-7, 6-3, 4-1(ret.)</p><p>Svitolina E. - Kenin S. RR 7-5, 7-6(10)</p><p>Svitolina E. - Halep S. RR 7-5, 6-3</p><p>Svitolina E. - Pliskova K. RR 7-6(12), 6-4</p><p>These slow, almost "dead" courts with a lower bounce suit the 25-year old counterpuncher's game to a T, just like they did last year in Singapore. Battling through two super long tiebreaks and battling through any adversity, Svitolina extended her unbeaten streak to 8 straight games at this event - not losing a set in the group stages.</p><p>Belinda Bencic would prove a tough semifinal matchup though, and the Swiss had won two of the previous three H2H matchups. Taking the ball early and on the rise, Bencic was able to take the first set off the reigning Champion this year. However, the world no. 7 was troubled by her hamstring as soon as mid-first set, and as her movement got progressively worse, the Ukranian pounced. Closing out the second set 6-3 and storming to a 4-1 lead was enough for Bencic to throw in the towel, and make it back-to-back finals for Svitolina.</p><p>In the final on this occasion, Ashleigh Barty will stand for the opposition. the world no. 1 hadn't impressed all that much down the stretch, despite labouring her way to victory. Though the Aussie didn't have any injury doubts, questions were many regarding the debutant's chances. Sporting the worst combined H2H record against her fellow group members, going just 3-6 and playing for the first time indoors - the 23-year old had a lot to prove.</p><p>Barty A. - Pliskova K. SF 4-6, 6-2, 6-3</p><p>Barty A. - Kvitova P. RR 6-4, 6-2</p><p>Bertens K. - Barty A. RR 3-6, 6-3, 6-4</p><p>Barty A. - Bencic B. RR 5-7, 6-1, 6-2</p><p>Many of the questions asked of Barty have been answered, and in some style. Showcasing impressive grit and determination, the world no. 1 came from a set down to defeat the ever so dangerous Belinda Bencic from a set down. Whilst aided by the Swiss picking up an injury, Ashleigh was effectively able to switch up her tactics mid-match, and that adaptability is one of her greatest strengths. However, the going would get tough as the 23-year old fell from a set up to defeat against the alternate Kiki Bertens, throwing the group as a whole into turmoil. All four players suddenly had a chance to advance out of the group stages, but for Barty, it was "win and you're in" scenario. Win she did, dominating Kvitova in impressive fashion.</p><p>The semifinal matchup proved a similar, big-serving challenge as Pliskova. It would be a tough start, as the Czech was jumping all over the second serves, winning 70% of those points, and it would take picture-perfect play to save seven straight break points in the first few games. However, the world no. 1 would eventually relent and lose the opener 6-4. A key game where Barty saved 4 breakpoints to hold for 2-1 in the second set would be the turnaround, breaking the game after and never looking back - slicing and dicing her way to a 6-2, 6-3 turnaround.</p><p>It's set up to be a fantastic final here in the last big game of the 2019 WTA Season, with the world no.1 facing up against the reigning champion. This is, however, a matchup that Svitolina has dominated throughout the years, leading the H2H record by a staggering 5 wins to 0. For all of Barty's great variety and slicing, she's just not been able to penetrate the stingy defense of the Ukranian. These ultra-slow, lower bouncing courts make the reigning champion near impossible to hit through, while the ball sits perfectly in the strike zone on offense. Furthermore, Svitolina looks to be the most fit out of any competing athlete at this event, a crucial advantage after a long and grueling season.</p><p>Despite all this, the 25-year old is being made the underdog in this affair. Still chasing that first title in 2019, going through the event undefeated earning $4.75 million & 1500 ranking points in doing so - would be the perfect way for the world no. 8 to end her season. Expect just that, and back Svitolina to successfully defend the WTA Finals title.</p><p><strong>Best bet: Svitolina to win at 2.01 (101/100) with [<a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=155&a=6a145d2b-505f-491b-a70e-2f5f31742828&f=1" target="_blank">Pinnacle</a>] 2.5u</strong></p></div>