Aryna Sabalenka is on course to retain her Wuhan Open title after defeating world number one Ashleigh Barty in Friday’s semi-final. The 21-year-old Belarusian, who defeated Anett Kontaveit in the final 12 months ago, had expected a difficult test against Barty.
The Australian is top of the world rankings on the back of her French Open success in June and is hoping to still be No.1 at the end of this year. However, she proved no match for Sabalenka, who cruised to a 7-5 6-4 victory and took her overall record at Wuhan to 11-0.
Speaking after her win and before Alison Riske booked her place in Saturday’s final courtesy of a 7-5 7-5 win against Petra Kvitova, Sabalenka said: “Of course, I’m happy to be in the final. It was really tough match. I can’t say that we both play on a great level.
I just happy that I could find the way how to win this match, but it was really tough. “I think it means a lot for me. It feels even better than last year. Last year was the first time Premier final, Premier title. This year, it was really tough season for me. To get back on that level, it feels much more enjoyable.”