WTA Beijing: Ashleigh Barty and Bianca Andreescu advance


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WTA Beijing: Ashleigh Barty and Bianca Andreescu advance

Last Premier 5 event of the season in Beijing is slowly reaching the final stages, with six exciting matches scheduled for Wednesday. World no.1 Ashleigh Barty took down Saisai Zheng 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 in two hours and 32 minutes, controlling the pace in sets she won to advance into the last eight.

The Aussie never lost serve, fending off all five break points and converting three out of 14 chances on the return, wasting all five opportunities in set number two and having to start all over in the decider. Fending off a couple of break points in the first game of the encounter, Barty claimed a break in the next game and held the advantage throughout the set with four commanding service games.

The Chinese survived tough service games at the beginning of the second set and again at 4-4, squandering a set point on the return in game ten before taking a tie break 7-5 with a service winner. Still, Barty restored the order in the final set, breaking in games four and eight to seal the deal and stay on the title course.

A qualifier Jennifer Brady toppled the 11th seed Madison Keys 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in just under two hours, overcoming a slow start and bringing the encounter home despite taking one point less than the seeded compatriot. Both players scored four breaks and Jennifer delivered her in the more pivotal moments, dropping six straight games to find herself a set and a break down before earning three breaks that carried her towards the second set.

In the decider, Madison suffered a break at 3-3 and that was everything Brady needed to seal the deal and advance into the next round, barely losing a point in the last four service games and moving over the top in style.

The 5th seed Bianca Andreescu has won the 16th straight match, toppling Elise Mertens 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 55 minutes after a great battle. The Belgian managed to take a set away from the Canadian at the US Open and fought well today in set number two where she led 4-1 and had a set point at 6-5, only to slip the advantage away.

Playing the first tournament since the US Open, Bianca is yet to find form and had to work hard today, fending off eight out of 12 break chances and earning five breaks from six opportunities to find herself over the top and into the last 16.

The battle started with four straight breaks and it was Andreescu who opened a 4-2 advantage after a forehand error from Elise in game six, closing the opener with a hold at love in game nine after 35 minutes. Mertens shifted into a higher gear from there, racing towards a 4-1 lead in set number two and wasting another break chance that would have pushed her further in front.

Bianca pulled the break back in game seven and saved a set point at 4-5 after an incredible rally, leveling the score at 5-5 and moving in front with a break of serve in game 11 following a deep return that Mertens failed to control.

Serving for the match, Andreescu got broken to set up a tie break, trailing 5-4 there and staying calm to earn a match point at 6-5. The youngster converted it after forcing an error from the opponent, extending her streak and booking spot in the last 16.