Wuhan Open: Barty beats Pavlyuchenkova, enters semis

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Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus overcame 16th-seeded Australian Ashleigh Barty 7-6 (2), 6-4 on Friday to reach the final at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan (China) Open.

In the day's other upset, second-ranked Caroline Wozniacki lost to Olympic champion Monica Puig 7-6 (12-10), 7-5.

She will face the victor of the second semi-final between Australia's Ashleigh Barty and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

The promising 20-year-old also won 84 per cent of points on her first serve, coming from a break down in the first set and refusing to allow Barty a way back after taking a 2-0 lead in the second.

Should World No. 40 De Minaur beat France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert, a 6-7 (6), 7-6 (1), 6-4 victor over Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain, he will rise to a new career-high in the ATP Rankings. On Wednesday it was the turn of Puig to send more shock waves through the field of the Wuhan Open as she knocked-out the world number two, Wozniacki.

The deciding set saw both players trade breaks but from 3-3 proceedings turned Pavlyuchenkova's way, the Russian making more inroads on Kvitova's serve.

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"She's a great player", Sabalenka said. "I think this is, you know, why it's going really fast". "She put pressure on me".

"I missed a lot of really easy balls".

Wang won the first two games of the match but the clinical Kontaveit won the next six games in a row to take the first set.

Her exit means the first final of 2018 for the 22-year-old Kontaveit, who will be looking to win her second WTA title after enjoying a breakout season in 2017.

Wang took advantage of her opponent's unforced errors to win the first set 6-3 and took control of the second early on, as Puig appeared to lose focus, becoming frustrated by her frequent unforced errors.

Barty goes on to face No. 28 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who stunned world No. 5 Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the following match on center court today. Wang powered past Daria Gavrilova 7-5 6-2.

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