Beijing, China, 3 October 2017 | Leigh Rogers

It has been a season of major breakthroughs for Daria Gavrilova.

The 23-year-old has won her first WTA singles title and made her top 20 debut. Her next goal is to qualify for the WTA Elite Trophy, a year-ending championship for the season’s best 11 performed players ranked No.9 to No.19, plus one wildcard.

The world No.22 needs a strong finish to her 2017 season to secure a place, adding extra incentive when she takes to the court in the China Open second round today.

“My goal for the whole season has been to make it to Zhuhai, so I’m still really motivated to make it there. At the moment I’m not in, so I really need to work hard to get there,” Gavrilova said.

We checked in with Gavrilova ahead of her Beijing showdown with American world No.16 CoCo Vandeweghe…

What do you need to improve from your round one win over Anett Kontaveit?

“It would be nice to play a lot cleaner. I didn’t move as well as I usually do, so getting that sharpness back would be helpful.”

RELATED: Gavrilova overcomes Kontaveit

What are your thoughts on playing CoCo Vandeweghe?

“CoCo has a big game, she’s had a great year and is always a dangerous opponent. She’s got a really big serve and I’ll have to hustle a lot. She is having her best season, so it is never easy to play someone like that. But I’ve had a pretty good season too, so I’m really looking forward to hopefully playing some good tennis.”

Is there any competition with Ashleigh Barty to finish the season as Australia’s No.1 ranked woman?

“I don’t know how she looks at it, but I’m pretty competitive so I’ve looked at the rankings and know I need to do well this week and in the upcoming weeks to beat her. So yeah it’s competitive, yet at the same time I’m really happy for her. She would deserve to be No.1.”

Finishing 2016 strongly means you have 630 ranking points to defend in the next three weeks, does this add extra pressure?

“I’m coming into these final tournaments attacking points, not really defending them. Last year is in the past, I’m not thinking about it to be honest. My main goal is Zhuhai, so I’m more worried about the race and getting more points this year.”