Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, 24 October 2017 | AAP

Ash Barty looks set to feature in the field for the Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, China on the back of a superb season on the WTA tour – and an injury to a rival.

Barty began 2017 ranked world No.271 after her return to the tour last season following a 20-month sabbatical and stint playing cricket in the Women’s Big Bash League with Brisbane Heat.

The 21-year-old’s breakout season has included a maiden WTA singles title in Kuala Lumpur and further finals in Birmingham and Wuhan.

She toppled three world top 10 players – including reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko – on her way to the Wuhan final.

Later this week she will team up with fellow Australian Casey Dellacqua as one of the world’s top eight doubles teams at the year-end WTA Finals in Singapore.

And now she will head to the Chinese city of Zhuhai for the event beginning next week, which features players ranked nine to 19 in the WTA points race.

Barty finished the season in 20th place, however Britain’s Johanna Konta – in ninth place – shut down her season after suffering a foot injury.

This means Barty will move up one spot in the rankings, enough to qualify her for the event.

Also playing in Zhuhai will be US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Australian Open 2016 winner Angelique Kerber.

The achievement comes after Barty leapfrogged Daria Gavrilova earlier this month to become the Australian No.1.

Gavrilova is a slim chance of also competing in the 12-player tournament; although she’s currently 24th in the points race, several players above her, including Svetlana Kuznetsova and Madison Keys, are under injury clouds and may not participate, potentially boosting Gavrilova up the ladder and into the field.

Following Zhuhai, Barty will return in 2018 aiming for a tilt at the Australian Open, beginning that effort at the Brisbane International after being confirmed as one of that event’s star attractions.