Ashleigh Barty made a blistering start and rode out a tighter second set to win the WTA Elite Trophy title with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 victory over rising Chinese talent Wang Qiang in Zhuhai, southern Guangdong Province, yesterday.
The Australian grew into the semi-final against Germany's Goerges, seeded fifth, and dominated the third set to book her place in Sunday's final.
Barty feared her tournament was over after her round robin stage debut in Zhuhai ended with defeat to Aryna Sabalenka - but a key result fell her way before she overwhelmed defending champion Julia Gorges in Saturday's first semi-final, 4-6 6-3 6-2.
"I'm looking forward to a bit of holiday and then getting ready for the Australian summer", Barty, 22, said.
Goerges, who celebrated her 30th birthday on Friday, dropped two service games in the deciding set as her 22-year-old opponent motored to victory.
The ninth seed imposed herself early in the match, winning the first four games on her way to taking the first set comfortably.
With it comes a projected rise to No.15 in the world when the WTA rankings are released today, positioning her well to avoid higher-ranked players until at least the fourth round at Melbourne Park.
But first, let me take a selfie: Ash Barty celebrates booking her place in the WTA Elite Trophy final.
"My goal is to stay top 20 and try and consolidate as best I can".
Serena opted to end her 2018 season two weeks ago, allowing players like Barty to overtake her.
Sunday's win is her third WTA singles title, adding to her breakthrough 2017 trophy at the Malaysian Open and this year's grasscourt win in Nottingham. Additionally, she reaches the career-high ranking and an all-important top-16 seeding at 2019 Australian Open.
"It's been a great finish in China this week", said Barty, who completes her season in the best possible way.
"It has been a phenomenal year, it really has".