It has been a remarkable year for Ashleigh Barty and this is turning into a remarkable week for the 21-year-old Australian. Barty, who has climbed 234 places in the world rankings since the start of the year to her present position at No 37, claimed her third successive victory over a top 15 player when she beat Karolina Pliskova 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 here on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.
Barty, who had accounted for Johanna Konta and Agnieszka Radwanska in her previous two matches, had to play some of her best tennis in a high-quality encounter.
Pliskova, the world No 4, saved three match points when Barty served at 5-4 in the third set, but the Australian recovered her poise and went on to dominate the deciding tie-break, which she won 7-2.
Barty, who will climb into the world’s top 30 for the first time next week, will face Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-finals. The French Open champion beat Garbine Muguruza, the Wimbledon champion, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
France’s Caroline Garcia will meet Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the other semi-final. Garcia beat Ekaterina Makarova 7-6, 6-4 while Sakkari beat Alize Cornet 7-6, 7-5.