Aryna Sabalenka reaches ½ final of Premier tournament

Australian Ashleigh Barty takes a selfie with a fan after her victory over Angelique Kerber at the Wuhan Open on 26 September 2018

She was soon rewarded for her aggression though as some courageous visits to the net coupled with 24 winners gave her the first set via a tiebreaker.

"She's always hard to play against".

Qualifier Tomic, ranked No.123, has won 11 of his past 14 matches and a win over the talented Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime would put him close to the top 100 and also direct entry for the Australian Open.

Australia's Ashleigh Barty had to dig deep to overcome Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Wuhan Open in China on Thursday, beating the Russian 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 to move into the semi-finals.

Qualifier Monica Puig reached the quarter-finals of the Wuhan Open after defeating Caroline Wozniacki for the second time this year. In the final game of the day, Kontaveit beat Katerina Siniakova 6-4, 6-4.

From 5-2 up in the opener, Barty survived a spirited fightback from Kerber and won eight of the last nine games to seal a straight-sets victory.

Both players will be bidding for their second career title; previously, Kontaveit lifted the trophy in 's-Hertogenbosch previous year, while Sabalenka was New Haven champion this August.

She began the second set even stronger, racing to a 5-0 lead as Germany's Kerber struggled to contain her unforced errors.

"I would like to say that she's a tricky player because she's playing slice, lobs, with spin".

Barty didn't allow Kerber any momentum as she denied the world number three the chance to narrow the gap on the top ranking held by Simona Halep, who lost her opening match.

The final between Aryna Sabalenka and Anett Kontaveit will be the first time the pair have played each other, and the second all-unseeded final in Wuhan following Caroline Garcia's defeat of Ashleigh Barty a year ago.

The Australian is through to the last four for a second successive year, though she had to come back from a break down in the decider to finally get the better of Russian Pavlyuchenkova.

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