Wuhan - Ashleigh Barty marched into her sixth semi-final of the season
on Thursday, describing her victory over Petra Martic in Wuhan as one of
the best matches she's played in recent times.
The world No 1 impressed in a highly entertaining quarter-final that saw her fire
39 winners en route to a 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-3 win against Martic.
now gets a shot at revenge when she takes on powerful Belarusian Aryna
Sabalenka on Friday in a rematch of their Wuhan semi-final last year.
Martic, Barty fell behind early in the first and third sets, but
retaliated with some creative shot-making to reach the last four for a
third year in a row.
"I think that was a very, very high-quality
match. I think that was probably one of the better matches that I've
played in recent times," said the reigning French Open champion.
could have gone either way. I was happy how I was able to fight in the
end, put a lot of pressure on her in a lot of those service games in the
Martic, the world number 22 from Croatia, had not lost a
three-setter since March, but saw her streak of 16 on-the-trot snapped
by the relentless Barty.
"She's one of the best movers on the tour," Barty said of Martic. "That (streak) doesn't surprise me."
the defending champion and seeded nine this week, overcame a second-set
dip to halt the inspired run of Kazakh wildcard Elena Rybakina 6-3,
1-6, 6-1 on Thursday.
The 21-year-old is tied at 2-2 in her head-to-head with Barty.
improved her strong career record on Chinese courts to 27 wins against
just six losses -- including 10 victories on the trot in Wuhan.
just feel that I am thinking clean and I am moving much better," said
Sabalenka, who is enjoying a resurgence this month after struggling to
adapt to her rapid rise earlier in the year.
"That's what we've been working on. Takes a little while."
champion Petra Kvitova also booked her spot in the Wuhan semi-final
line-up, easing past 19-year-old Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine 6-2, 6-4
in just 72 minutes.
Kvitova, who has been dealing with a forearm
injury that forced her out of the French Open this year and is requiring
her to wear a sleeve in her matches this week, reached her first
semi-final since Stuttgart in April.
The 29-year-old Kvitova will
face off with Alison Riske on Friday after the American upset
third-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-3 to record the third top-five
victory of the year.
Riske had never beaten Svitolina before and
knew she was in for a gruelling affair. The first game alone lasted 14
minutes, before Riske managed to take control of the match.
knew it was going to be a battle. I think mentally I was just prepared
for that," said the world number 35. "I'm just really pleased with the
way I competed."
Riske will be contesting her sixth career semi-final at a Chinese event.
Results from the WTA tournament in Wuhan, China on Thursday (x denotes seeding):
Ashleigh Barty (AUS x1) bt Petra Martic (CRO) 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-3
Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x9) bt Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 6-3, 1-6, 6-1
Petra Kvitova (CZE x5) bt Dayana Yastremska (UKR) 6-2, 6-4
Alison Riske (USA) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x3) 6-1, 6-3