Ash Barty reflects on brilliant 2017 after loss to Coco Vandeweghe

A rejuvenated Ashleigh Barty is no longer fearful of the strains of a tennis season after her dream 2017 campaign was ended on Saturday night. The 21-year-old was outside the world's top 300 this time last year but will finish the year as high as 16 after reaching the semi-finals at the WTA Elite Trophy in China. Barty was prepared to shrug off Saturday's 6-3, 6-3 loss to a red-hot Coco Vandeweghe and instead reflect on her rapid rise. "It's been an amazing season, it truly has," Barty said. "You're disappointed not to win a tennis match but you've got to put things in perspective. "I've played top-10 players this year and felt comfortable, but Coco just has that ability to hit players off the court." The Queenslander debuted at the Australian Open as a 15-year-old but looked lost to the game when she turned to cricket in late 2014, citing the need for a mental break. The talented teenager made a tentative return to the circuit in 2016 and says after her first full season back on tour she is fresh enough to keep going. "It's been well documented why I needed to take a break, wanted to take a break," she said. "I feel like if I had to, we could play again next week." Barty will enjoy some time off — spent at the beach and the Gabba for the first Ashes Test — before preparing for the Brisbane International. "It's been really nice to get that support [recently] and when I am home it'll be nice, a bit of a different feel," Barty said of her new standing as the country's highest-ranked player. "I've always had good support and never felt left out or anything but I've put myself in a position now where I can probably get a little bit more support from home." Vandeweghe, coached by Australia's Pat Cash, will play in-form German Julia Goerges in Sunday's final in Zhuhai.
 

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