WTA Wuhan: Aryna Sabalenka downs Ashleigh Barty. Alison Riske tops Kvitova

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WTA Wuhan: Aryna Sabalenka downs Ashleigh Barty. Alison Riske tops Kvitova

The defending champion Aryna Sabalenka is through to another final in Wuhan, defeating world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 6-4 in an hour and 43 minutes. It was their fifth match and the third win for Aryna who fended off four out of five break chances and grabbed three breaks from four opportunities to cross the finish line and improve her Wuhan score to 11-0!

The Belarusian made the best possible start, breaking the Aussie in the first game after a backhand error from Barty, cementing the break with a service winner in game two before wasting four game points at 3-2 to suffer a break after a poor challenge.

They stayed neck and neck in the next four games and it was Aryna who broke again in the 11th game after a loose drop shot from Barty, fending off a break point in the next game with a backhand down the line winner and another one before sealing the set with a service winner for a 7-5.

Sabalenka repelled two break points in the second game of the second set and they both served well in the following games to reach 4-4 without any problems in service games. Ashleigh led 40-15 in the ninth game but it wasn't to be for her, losing the next four points to suffer a break and push Aryna in front, allowing her opponent to seal the deal with an incredible backhand down the line winner in the next game for the place in the final.

The 29-year-old American Alison Riske is through to the first Premier 5 final and her sixth title match in China from nine finals overall, ousting the 5th seed Petra Kvitova 7-5, 7-5 in two hours and five minutes. Riske won their previous encounter at the US Open six years ago and found the way to prevail today as well, delivering the fourth top-10 victory in 2019 and cracking the top-30 on Monday with these points.

As the result suggests, it was a close battle that saw Riske winning four points more overall, erasing five out of seven break chances to limit the damage in her games and creating 15 opportunities on the return, converting four to seal the deal in straight sets and move into the title match.

Petra had to play against six break points already in game two, fending them off and stealing Riske's serve in the fifth game that sent her in front. Alison broke back in the very next game when the Czech sent a backhand long and they produced five successful service games before Riske earned the crucial break in the 12th game with a backhand drive-volley winner for a 7-5.

As in the first set, Petra forged the lead with a break in the fifth game of the second set, moving closer to grab the set with a great hold in the eighth game, creating two set points on the return in the next game. Alison repelled those to stay in touch, surviving two more set points in game ten and converting the fifth break chance after a massive forehand error from Petra, leveling the score at 5-5 and moving over the top with another break in game 12, rattling off the last four games and advancing into the biggest final in a career.