World no. 1 Ashleigh Barty is through to the last 16 in Wuhan, defeating Carolina Garcia 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in two hours and 11 minutes. Garcia prevailed against Barty in the final here two years ago and had her chances today as well, earning ten break chances and converting three, leading 6-3, 4-4 before Ashleigh grabbed eight of the last nine games to race over the finish line and avoid an early exit in the battle with Karolina Pliskova for the WTA throne after Wuhan.
The opening two sets lasted for almost two hours and Barty couldn't find the way to impose her shots, losing the opener and staying neck and neck with Caroline until that tenth game when she broke at love to steal the set and gain a massive boost that carried her home in the decider.
The Aussie seized 28 of the last 36 points to cross the finish line first with a double break in set number three, setting the third-round clash with the 15th seed Sofia Kenin. The American claimed the third WTA title on Saturday and is hungry for more this week, prevailing over Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 in two hours and 22 minutes, standing two points away from the defeat and staying focused in the closing stages to find herself over the top.
Both players saved four out of eight break chances and it was Mertens who won six points more overall, having a 6-4, 3-1 lead before Sofia claimed five of the next six games to steal the set and gather the momentum ahead of the decider.
There, they traded breaks in the first two games and stayed on the same level in the rest of the set to set up a tie break where Elise had a 5-4 lead before the young American won three straight points to survive and extend the winning streak.
Petra Martic toppled a lucky loser Rebecca Peterson 6-0, 3-6, 6-1, getting broken once and dominated in the sets she won to advance into the last 16 where she will face Veronika Kudermetova who defeated the 7th seed Belinda Bencic 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and nine minutes.
Thanks to that opening set, Belinda won four points more than her rival but it wasn't enough to keep her safe, wasting a 4-2 advantage in the final set and allowing Veronika to win the last four games and prevail in the encounter with 31 break chances overall.
World no. 6 Simona Halep is through to the third round in Wuhan, defeating Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 25 minutes. It was the first match for the Romanian after an early exit at the US Open, fending off six out of eight break chances and taking more than half of the return points to grab six breaks from 12 opportunities.
From 3-2 down, Simona grabbed 16 of the last 20 points to claim it 6-3 with two straight breaks, opening a 3-1 lead in the second set. Barbora pulled the break back to stay competitive before Simona rattled off three consecutive games that propelled her into the last 16, earning breaks in games six and eight to cross the finish line and make a convincing start.