Naomi Osaka's impressive run to the China Open has come despite the Japanese star struggling for sleep.

The two-time grand slam champion made her second consecutive WTA Tour final on Saturday by knocking out defending champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-2 in Beijing.

Osaka also saw off US Open winner Bianca Andreescu in the quarter-finals and produced another fine display in her semi-final win over Wozniacki despite a short turnaround of under 24 hours between the two matches.

"I haven't slept since before I played Bianca so I did not emotionally prepare," Osaka, 21, said after her 65-minute Wozniacki triumph.

"I just tried to sleep as much as I could and then before I knew it, I had to come back here.

"Don't get me wrong, I love it here, but it's definitely been a bit crazy time-wise.

"I went to sleep at 4:00am, I woke up at 6:00am, so solid two hours, I can't really sleep after my matches. I just feel like my adrenaline's up more during the tougher matches so it makes it harder to sleep."

Osaka won on home soil at the Pan Pacific Open at her last event and has ended two impressive streaks at this premier mandatory tournament.

Wozniacki had won 20 consecutive sets at the China Open dating back to last year's event before losing emphatically, while Andreescu had tasted victory in 17 straight matches before Osaka accounted for her.

In Sunday's final, the Japanese star will meet Ashleigh Barty, the player who took the number one ranking from her after the US Open.

Osaka said: "I just can't make too many unforced errors [against Barty]. For me, she's a consistent power player. She also has a lot of change-up shots.

"I feel like half of what I have to do is not be too crazy on the change-up shots and also try to be the more aggressive player out there.

"This year has definitely been very up and down. Of course Australia was great, everyone knows Europe was terrible for me. 

"The US Open was pretty bad and after that I didn't do anything, took a break, told everyone that I was going to do well here [on the Asian swing]. I kind of promised everyone so I'm trying to pull through on that."

Barty saved a match point before defeating Kiki Bertens in a thrilling final-set tie-break in the first semi-final.

Naomi Osaka dumped out defending champion Caroline Wozniacki to book a huge China Open final against Ashleigh Barty.

Following up on her win at the Pan Pacific Open, Australian Open champion Osaka reached another final by impressively defeating Wozniacki, a two-time winner of this tournament, 6-4 6-2.

She will now do battle with Barty, the player who regained the world number one ranking from her after the US Open, in Beijing on Sunday, bidding for her second career premier mandatory title.

Barty had earlier saved a match point to earn a thrilling 6-3 3-6 7-6 (9-7) victory over Kiki Bertens in a battle lasting two hours and 20 minutes, the Australian reaching her fifth final of 2019.
 

IN-FORM OSAKA ENDS WOZNIACKI STREAK

Osaka fired 30 winners to Wozniacki's 13 and converted three of her five break points as her assertive style proved decisive in a 65-minute victory.

Wozniacki had incredibly won 20 consecutive sets at the China Open dating back to her 2018 victory at the event, but failed to take any of her seven break points as that spectacular run came to an emphatic end.

Osaka saved one of those break opportunities to level a close first set at 4-4 before building on that momentum.

She made the decisive break with a forehand winner down the line in the next game and then held to claim the first set, sealing the opener with a powerful volley.

The second set was more comfortable, as Osaka's momentum continued with a break in the opening game.

Wozniacki had chances, though, with two missed opportunities to break straight back and another going begging that could have prevented her Japanese opponent moving into a 3-1 lead.

Osaka then broke again to move into complete control and an unreturned serve on her first match point soon after finished the job.
 

BARTY 'NEVER BEEN HAPPIER' AFTER EPIC WIN 

Barty had needed three sets to move through her previous two matches and was pushed to the limit again in her semi-final.

Asked about winning the crucial points, Barty said: "That's gone hand-in-hand with adding some new people to my team, trying to work with them behind the scenes.

"Not just for my tennis, it's for my life, my health and wellbeing as well, which has been the best thing. I have never been happier off the court, never been happier on the court. It's been a brilliant time in my life.

"I enjoy those moments. I enjoy when it's tight, when your back's against the wall. That really brings out the fun for me."

The world number one – who had won all four of the previous meetings between the pair - claimed 12 of the first 14 points, breaking in the second game.

That strike was all she needed in order to claim the opening set, as Bertens threatened to recover at 5-3 down only for Barty to eventually convert her sixth set point.

It was Bertens' turn to make a fast start in the second set, though, racing into a 3-0 lead and not conceding a break point en route to levelling the match.

That led to a dramatic final set where both players broke twice, Bertens failing to serve out the match at 5-4 as Barty forced an epic tie-break. 

Barty lost the first three points but recovered to lead 6-5 before being unable to convert a match point on her own serve. Her Dutch rival then missed her chance at victory having moved 7-6 ahead.

The Australian won three straight points from there, sealing victory with her second match point after Bertens sent a backhand return long. 

Naomi Osaka was keen to remind the tennis world of the threat she poses as she ended Bianca Andreescu's stunning winning run in the China Open quarter-finals.

Osaka won the 2018 US Open and started the new year by claiming the Australian Open, moving to world number one, but her season then unravelled with a series of unconvincing performances.

Meanwhile, Andreescu emerged as one of the outstanding talents on the WTA Tour, stringing together 17 consecutive victories that included taking the Flushing Meadows title for her own breakthrough major success.

But Osaka spoiled the party in Beijing on Friday, rallying from a set down to stun her 19-year-old opponent 5-7 6-3 6-4, continuing an impressive Asian swing.

The Japanese won the Pan Pacific Open and is now into the last four of the final Premier Mandatory tournament of the year, with defending champion Caroline Wozniacki up next.

Wozniacki, who has endured a tough year, defeated Daria Kasatkina 6-3 7-6 (7-5) to maintain her hopes of becoming the first woman to win this competition three times.

 

'I'M STILL HERE!'

It appears Osaka was hurt by the public and media response to her tough middle section of the year, now determined to prove her worth again in the final weeks of the season.

"It meant a lot because I feel like people counted me out after the Europe thing," she said, having failed to reach a final on clay or grass. "I still won a slam this year, I won [the Pan Pacific Open].

"I'm still here. But there's a sort of beauty to be underrated."

As well as reaching the semi-finals in Beijing, Osaka also booked her place at the WTA Finals with victory, joining Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep and opponent Andreescu.

 

'LOSING SUCKS!'

Andreescu had not been beaten in a completed match since March and so, quite understandably, was not used to the feeling of coming up short on Friday.

"I forgot how it feels [to lose]," she said. "Honestly, it sucks. I didn't miss it at all. But at least I didn't get whooped one and one. I put up a fight.

"Honestly, it could have went either way. It was just some points here and there. At the same time, I am pissed, but at the same time, I'm proud of myself with how I played today.

"I really fought, especially in that last game. Holy crap, that was crazy."

 

BARTY THROUGH

While many eyes were distracted by the Osaka-Andreescu tussle, world number one Barty advanced in the other half of the draw, beating Petra Kvitova 4-6 6-4 6-3.

This was another superb contest, leading the French Open champion to claim: "From my opinion, that was one of the highest quality matches I played all year.

"Petra always has a way of bringing out the best in me, she really does."

The Australian faces Kiki Bertens next after the Dutch star upset third seed Elina Svitolina in straight sets. "I think I stepped up my game today," Bertens said.

Bianca Andreescu swatted aside Jennifer Brady to set up a mouth-watering China Open quarter-final with Naomi Osaka.

US Open champion Andreescu took just 67 minutes to defeat qualifier Brady 6-1 6-3 and extend her winning streak on the WTA Tour to 17 matches on Thursday.

The Canadian's next opponent is two-time major champion Osaka, who won 10 straight games to come from a break down and seal a 6-4 6-0 victory over Alison Riske.

Caroline Wozniacki beat Katerina Siniakova 7-5 6-4 to reach her second quarter-final of the season. The 16th seed will face Daria Kasatkina after the Russian beat compatriot Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 6-3.

 

SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE

Andreescu has not suffered defeat in a completed match since Acapulco in March, while Osaka has won her past seven matches in straight sets.

Ahead of their first meeting on the WTA Tour, Osaka thinks the fifth seed is in better form than she was after claiming her maiden major at the 2018 US Open.

"I was watching her play Toronto when I was there. It's pretty obvious she is an amazing player," the Japanese, who won the Pan Pacific Open last month, said of Andreescu.

"I don't know. I feel like she's doing better than I was last year, so it's all cool. I have to learn from her, too."

 

WOZNIACKI ON FORM

Two-time China Open champion Wozniacki twice battled from a break down to take the opening set against Siniakova, who saved a break point to avoid going 5-1 down in the second.

The Czech rallied to get back into the match but paid the price for making 43 unforced errors.

"I'm happy to have played well so far in the tournament. I've been feeling pretty good. That's always a plus. We'll just see," said Wozniacki.

"Hopefully it's not the end of the tournament for me. Hopefully I have a couple more matches in me. I'm just going to go and see."

 

THE RUSSIAN WALL

Alexandrova charged ahead in an opening set that saw just three holds of serve, but Kasatkina put two of them together to take five straight games and seize the initiative.

Kasatkina displayed immense defence to do so and she kept it up in the second to triumph despite twice dropping serve.

"The Russian wall came back in China," said Kasatkina of her tenacious play. "She was better at the beginning, but together with Carlos [Martinez, her coach] I managed to get my game back and start to play better."

US Open champion Bianca Andreescu's incredible unbeaten run continued as she fought past Elise Mertens at the China Open.

In a rematch of their Flushing Meadows quarter-final, Andreescu survived a second-set fightback from the Belgian to progress to the last 16 in Beijing.

World number one Ashleigh Barty went the distance with Zheng Saisai but powered through in the third set to keep her hopes alive.

Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens also progressed along with Elina Svitolina, but Madison Keys was on the wrong end of a stunning turnaround from fellow American Jennifer Brady.

 

ANDREESCU TRIUMPHS IN TOUGH BATTLE

Andreescu trailed 4-1 in the second set with Mertens, who had a set point to force a decider at 5-4.

However, Andreescu saved that before breaking back to force a tie-break, which she edged to complete a 6-3 7-6 (7-5) triumph.

Andreescu is unbeaten in 16 matches and has not lost a completed contest since March.

"Today was more of a battle mentally with myself than anything," the 19-year-old said. "I felt like I was getting very down on myself.

"I expect a lot from myself in general, but I have to realise not everything is going to go the way I want it to."


BRADY TURNS TABLES ON KEYS

Brady trailed by a set and a break against former US Open finalist Keys, but the qualifier produced a remarkable comeback to claim her fourth top-20 win of the season.

She came through 2-6 6-4 6-4 after one hour and 56 minutes, but acknowledged fortune played a significant role in her victory, which sets up a third-round clash with Andreescu.

 "I was just letting her dictate and take control and be the one in charge," said Brady. "I feel like I got a bit lucky with a few points here and there and was able to turn around the match.

"I think it was just mentally, being able to stay in there and fight. Not give in, not look at the score, just stay positive and stay within myself. Look to play my game and be more aggressive, knowing that if I stay in there, things can happen. And they did. I was happy they did."


50 NOT OUT FOR BARTY!

A former cricketer in the Big Bash League, Barty reached her half-century for 2019 as she claimed her 50th win of the year on Wednesday.

She did so with a display of grit that would have been well suited to a long spell at the crease, winning 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 in two hours and 32 minutes.

The Australian becomes the second woman to reach 50 wins on Tour this year, drawing level with Karolina Pliskova.

Barty will next face Kvitova after the two-time Wimbledon champion overcame Belinda Bencic, while Bertens' reward for beating Polona Hercog is a match with Svitolina, whose three-set win over Sofia Kenin finished well after midnight.

Bianca Andreescu's first match since her US Open triumph went to plan despite a brief wobble against Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Monday.

The Canadian secured a 14th straight win on the WTA Tour as she defeated Sasnovich 6-2 2-6 6-1 at the China Open.

Andreescu proved her mental strength time and again en route to her maiden grand slam success and was required to do more of the same in Beijing, seeing a straightforward opener give way to a gruelling second set.

The fifth seed recovered her composure and raced to victory in the third, setting up a clash with Elise Mertens, who gave her a real test in the Flushing Meadows quarter-finals.

"I felt like in the second set I was too tense. But she was playing really well," Andreescu said. "I think I was just getting down on myself too much.

"I think I play my best tennis when I'm a little bit more relaxed. In the third set I just wanted to stay as positive as I could and just stay relaxed, to continue going for my shots."

Mertens eased past Petra Martic 6-3 6-3 to book that match-up, but there were surprises elsewhere.


HALEP HOPES ENDED

It was announced on Monday that Andreescu and Simona Halep had secured their places in the WTA Finals.

But where Andreescu celebrated with a win to start the final Premier Mandatory tournament of the year, Halep – still troubled by a back issue – came unstuck, the sixth seed beaten 6-2 6-3 by Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Alexandrova reflected: "It was a pretty tough match, but I think she didn't play that well.

"I remember when we played last time in Cincinnati, it was tougher. But I tried to stay focused for the whole match because I knew she could play just amazing."

Jelena Ostapenko upset Karolina Pliskova on Saturday, but her run was also ended as she fell 6-2 6-1 to Katerina Siniakova.


WOZNIACKI WINS OPENER

Caroline Wozniacki has endured a tough 2019, but she marked her return to Beijing with a dominant defeat of Lauren Davis.

The Dane has won the China Open twice - including 12 months ago at the end of an outstanding season - and began her latest bid by beating Davis 6-1 6-3.

Kiki Bertens was another seed to avoid an upset, overcoming teenager Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

"It was tough," Bertens said. "I hadn't played her before but, of course, she hits the ball so hard, so you never really know what you're going to get."

Elina Svitolina battled back impressively in both sets against Wang Yafan to progress courtesy of a pair of tie-breaks.


BENCIC BATTLES BACK

Venus Williams saw her campaign ended by US Open semi-finalist Belinda Bencic.

The 39-year-old took the opener but went down 3-6 6-3 7-5 in the final match of the day.

Madison Keys defeated Karolina Muchova to set up an all-American meeting with Jennifer Brady, who beat 18-year-old compatriot and French Open semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova

Sofia Kenin is set to face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who sunk fellow Russian Veronika Kudermetova 6-0 3-6 7-6 (7-4).

World number one Ashleigh Barty is optimistic a calf injury that hindered her at the Wuhan Open will not be a problem going forward as she prepares for her second-round match at the China Open.

Barty lost in the last four of the Premier 5 tournament to Aryna Sabalenka, who went on to defend her title, and required treatment on her left calf.

The French Open champion has a bye through the first round in Beijing but has not yet taken to the practice court.

However, with the final Premier Mandatory tournament of the season this week and the WTA Finals a month away, Barty is positive about her fitness.

"I haven't been on court yet since my match in Wuhan," she told reporters. "Everything is moving better than expected, so it's good.

"It's just about making sure we do the right things and give it a chance to be ready to go."

Explaining the problem on Friday, Barty had said: "I felt like I had to protect it a little bit. It's important at this time of the year to listen to your body.

"There were certain things I wasn't able to do." 

Karolina Pliskova's wait for a Premier Mandatory title on the WTA Tour will go on after she was dumped out of the China Open in the first round on Saturday.

Pliskova is the world number two but has never won a grand slam championship or any of the top Premier tournaments, with triumphs at the Cincinnati Masters and Italian Open - Premier 5 events - the highlights of her career.

And the Czech star was unable to end her drought in the final Premier Mandatory competition of 2019, losing to Jelena Ostapenko in the last 64.

Ostapenko retired at the Tashkent Open with a gastrointestinal illness earlier this week and served up 25 double-faults here but still dictated the play against Pliskova.

The second seed saved an incredible 18 break points yet let six slip through and Ostapenko emerged a 7-5 3-6 7-5 victor.

Ostapenko next plays Katerina Siniakova, who defeated Chinese wildcard Wang Xiyu in straight sets.

The draw would appear to have opened up for Simona Halep in the same quarter, but other seeds fared better than Pliskova in their own openers.

Love the fans here at @ChinaOpen pic.twitter.com/SqVPh4IbjA

— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) September 28, 2019  

BERTENS, BENCIC THROUGH

Kiki Bertens might have joined Pliskova in an early exit but she recovered impressively from a set down to beat the dangerous Donna Vekic in three.

The Dutch star dominated the second set as Vekic threatened to collapse and, although the Croatian recovered, victory was sealed with a tie-break, 3-6 6-1 7-6 (7-3).

US Open semi-finalist Belinda Bencic found life a little easier as she downed Hsieh Su-Wei 7-5 6-2.

She explained: "I thought I had to be really aggressive today and not play too many rallies because she's the best in those.

"Normally my game is more medium aggressive, but today I was more so. I think it worked out well."

 

KENIN SERVES UP A BAGEL FOR MUGURUZA

Garbine Muguruza, champion here in 2015, could not complete what would have been a remarkable comeback against Sofia Kenin.

Kenin took the first set 6-0 but two-time grand slam winner Muguruza battled back to win the next 6-2 and was a break up in the decider before losing it 6-2.

Daria Kasatkina did produce a turnaround in her 2-6 6-4 6-4 victory over Peng Shuai, while Zheng Saisai saw off Monica Puig and Polona Hercog edged past Julia Goerges.

Aryna Sabalenka dominated the deciding set to defeat Alison Riske and retain her Wuhan Open crown.

A 6-3 3-6 6-1 victory in one hour and 54 minutes gave Sabalenka her fourth career WTA Tour title and second of 2019.

Having also won the 2018 edition of the Wuhan Open – a Premier 5 event – she capped a fine week with a topsy-turvy victory over unseeded American Riske.

Riske recorded consecutive wins over seeds against Wang Qiang, Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova to reach the final but saw her opponent fire down 18 aces.

Sabalenka, 21, defeated Ashleigh Barty and Kiki Bertens along the way to her third final of the year.

She had won the previous two career meetings against Riske, including a final in Shenzhen earlier this year, and made it three from three with a blistering start from the ninth seed in Saturday's showpiece setting the tone.

Sabalenka raced into a 5-1 lead with some magnificent hitting and while three double faults as she was serving for the set led to a break that briefly gave Riske hope, she converted her third set point in the next service game with a backhand volleyed winner.

Riske put up a good fight in her third final of 2019 – forcing a third set with an unreturned serve as one solitary break proved decisive in the second - but remains on two career titles after having no answer in the decider.

Two straight breaks saw Sabalenka storm into a 5-0 lead and she took her first championship point soon after with another thunderous ace, after which she fell to the court in delight.

Alison Riske continued a fine week at the Wuhan Open by earning a gutsy 7-5 7-5 win over Petra Kvitova to secure a final against Aryna Sabalenka.

The American had already chalked up back-to-back wins over seeds Wang Qiang (8) and Elina Svitolina (3) – dismantling the latter 6-1 6-3 on Thursday – and added Kvitova (5) to that list.

Kvitova had not dropped a set prior to Friday's semi-final but, when serving to stay in the opener, the Czech went into the net to cede the advantage.

Two-time champion Kvitova appeared to be back on track when breaking for 3-2 in the second and saw a couple of set points go begging when leading 5-4.

However, Riske showed awesome defence in a mammoth nine-minute game 10, in which the world number seven had two more set points, to bring it back on serve on her fifth break point.

Riske completed the fine win when Kvitova again found the net when serving to stay in the match, sealing a first Wuhan final appearance for a player who is projected to break into the world's top 30 for the first time.

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka reached the Wuhan Open final once more with an excellent straight-sets win over world number one Ashleigh Barty on Friday.

Sabalenka improved to 11-0 in Wuhan after her success last year by earning a clinical 7-5 6-4 victory, clinched with a glorious backhand winner from out wide.

"I'm so excited to be in the final, especially here," said the Belarusian, who will play Petra Kvitova or Alison Riske. "It doesn't matter who is going to be there, I'll be there for a fight."

It was a disappointing outing for Barty, who has reached a final and two semis in Wuhan without winning, and she will hope there are no lasting issues after struggling with discomfort in her left calf in the second set.

Barty dropped serve immediately in the first set but then stuck with her opponent and, in a marathon sixth game, broke back, with Sabalenka unsuccessfully claiming a forehand had gone long when halting a rally on break point.

The Australian dictated play for a time, yet Sabalenka wrestled back control with a hold to love and led again when Barty concluded a sloppy service game with an awful, awry slice.

Sabalenka took her third set point following another tussle at deuce, before withstanding more pressure to keep the second on serve early on.

Barty summoned the trainer for treatment on her calf after five games and, although able to continue, a loose game again proved her undoing, the top seed going long to allow Sabalenka to swiftly serve out the match in style.

Ashleigh Barty overcame a stern challenge from Petra Martic to reach the semi-finals of the Wuhan Open for the third year in a row.

The world number one was made to work hard for her 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-3 victory, which set up a last-four clash with reigning champion Aryna Sabalenka.

Fellow seed Petra Kvitova enjoyed more serene progress in her straight-sets win over Dayana Yastremska.

But there was a shock in store for the third-ranked Elina Svitolina, who lost to Alison Riske in a surprisingly one-sided encounter.

BARTY BATTLES THROUGH

French Open champion Barty showed her grit to secure a semi-final spot at this tournament once again.

Martic made life tough for the Australian and even shrugged off the disappointment of a first-set tie-break loss to win the second set.

It was in that set that Martic produced some of her best tennis, the Croatian tallying just four unforced errors in a demonstration of clean hitting.

However, when it came to the decider it was Barty who upped her level, dictating rallies with a potent mixture of power and precision.

She will face Sabalenka after the Belarusian also needed three sets to get past Elena Rybakina, triumphing 6-3 1-6 6-1.

SVITOLINA OUSTED BY INSPIRED RISKE

The second semi-final will see two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova take on Riske, when she might have been expecting to meet Svitolina.

Riske made an early statement of intent by winning the first set 6-1 and she wrapped up the match after taking the second 6-3 to leave Svitolina stunned.

It was the American's coolness under pressure that made the difference, Riske fending off four of the five break points she faced to down a player ranked 32 places above her.

Kvitova was similarly dominant in her 6-2 6-4 victory over Yastremska.

There will be no blockbuster semi-final between world number one Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep at the Wuhan Open after the Wimbledon champion retired from her third-round match with Elena Rybakina.

Halep had been on a collision course with French Open champion Barty in the last four having been placed in the same half of the draw.

However, Halep's tournament came to an end on Wednesday as a back injury forced her retirement when trailing 5-4 in the first set to Rybakina, who will next face defending champion Aryna Sabalenka.

Barty came through in relatively comfortable fashion against Sofia Kenin, but there was a shock in the other half of the draw as Dayana Yastremska knocked out Karolina Pliskova, who can now not claim top spot in the rankings at the end of the week.

BARTY BREEZES THROUGH

A tougher test may have been expected against one of the rising stars of the WTA Tour in Kenin, but Barty needed only an hour and 26 minutes to dispatch the 15th seed 6-3 7-5.

The Australian had been a break down in the second set and saved a pair of set points, avoiding a decider to complete a third win in four meetings with Kenin this season.

Assessing her performance, Barty said: "I can sit here and pick my game apart and be super critical, but I also have to be able to take away the really good stuff, the good times that we've been able to get out of these matches - particularly the last 20-odd points today. I felt like I got on a real run there."

Petra Martic awaits Barty in the quarter-finals after seeing off Veronika Kudermetova in straight sets.


SABALENKA ROARS TO FIRST WIN OVER BERTENS

Sabalenka had never previously beaten Kiki Bertens in four attempts before their meeting in Wuhan, and she appeared in danger of throwing away a commanding position as she let slip a 5-1 second-set lead.

The Belarusian spurned four match points but recovered her composure to save a Bertens set point and win the decisive tie-break. 

Her 6-1 7-6 (11-9) success means Sabalenka has won 15 straight sets in Wuhan, rediscovering her enjoyment of competition after travelling to the recent Zhengzhou Open without coach Dmitry Tursunov.

"The tiger is back," she said. "I'm just playing freely, not afraid of anything and just going for shots. Every time before the match I can't wait to go out and to play, and I'm so happy to feel this again."


YASTREMSKA CLAIMS FIRST TOP 10 SCALP

Teenager Yastremska has enjoyed an excellent 2019, winning titles in Hua Hin and Strasbourg while reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon and the third round at the Australian Open and US Open.

She added to an increasingly impressive resume by stunning second seed Pliskova to claim the first top-10 win of her fledgling career.

The 19-year-old needed only 64 minutes to surge to a 6-1 6-4 win. Yastremska did not drop serve and hit 26 winners to just 15 unforced errors to put Pliskova's hopes of displacing Barty on hold.

Yastremska will face Petra Kvitova for a place in the semi-finals after the two-time champion overcame Sloane Stephens 6-3 6-3. The other quarter-final will see Elina Svitolina take on Alison Riske after their wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova and Wang Qiang respectively.

Simona Halep revealed a back injury led to her retirement against Elena Rybakina in the Wuhan Open third round on Wednesday.

The Romanian world number six was trailing the wildcard 5-4 when she retired at the WTA Premier event.

Halep, who suffered a back injury late last year, said she felt pain during the ninth game of the match.

"It's a lower back [injury]. I think it's more muscle, but I don't know yet because I didn't check it properly," she told reporters, via the WTA.

"[At] 4-4, 0-30, with the backhand. I had a sharp pain.

"I don't know yet [if it's the same as the previous injury]. It looks a little bit different but it's still the same zone."

Halep has enjoyed a fine 2019 season, including winning the Wimbledon title in July.

Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep all progressed on a day of few shocks at the Wuhan Open.

There were occasional scares for the big names, with world number one Barty worked hard by Caroline Garcia, but only Belinda Bencic came up short out of the seeded players.

Elina Svitolina was also triumphant, beating 2015 finalist Garbine Muguruza in straight sets.

 

BARTY GETS REVENGE

​Barty – then playing just her third WTA Tour final, was beaten by Garcia in the 2017 Wuhan championship match – belatedly got her revenge, as top seed, on Tuesday.

It looked for a time as though the Australian might be in trouble again, as she dropped the first set and faced a break point in the first game of the second.

But Barty showed grit to come through that lengthy game, pinching the set at the last and then easing to a 4-6 6-4 6-1 win.

"I had to make some small adjustments in the second set," she said. "[The first set] was just kind of ebbing and flowing a little bit. Caro played the bigger points better.

"It was just about me being a little bit smarter with my serving and trying to be in control in those first couple of points."

 

HALEP LOOKING FORWARD

Halep improved to a 6-0 head-to-head record against Barbora Strycova in a comfortable triumph, 6-3 6-2.

The Romanian said: "It's never easy to play against her, but I'm confident every time because I have a few matches won against her, so it's a good thing for me.

"It's a good start," Halep added. "I'm looking forward to the next one."

Pliskova was also ultimately comfortable against Amanda Anisimova, recovering from being broken in her first service games of either set to beat the dangerous teenager 6-3 6-3.

 

BERTENS, KENIN ALSO RALLY

​​Barty was not the only star required to dig deep on Tuesday, as Kiki Bertens and Sofia Kenin each also came from a set down to progress.

Bertens avoided a shock against Bernarda Pera, winning 3-6 6-4 6-2 to set up a meeting with defending champion Aryna Sabalenka, while Kenin saw off Elise Mertens in three.

Sloane Stephens needed three sets to get through, as did Alison Riske, Petra Martic, Elena Rybakina and Veronika Kudermetova, who upset Bencic 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the final match of the day.

There were wins elsewhere for Wang Qiang, Dayana Yastremska and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

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