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Barty tops Martic in backhand slice showdown to advance at Wuhan Open

Barty tops Martic in backhand slice showdown to advance at Wuhan Open

The world No. 1 is through to the semifinals at the WTA Premier 5 event for the third consecutive year after coming through in three tough sets.

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty is two wins away from claiming her fourth singles title of the season after reaching the Wuhan semifinals for the third successive year.

Barty came through a tough contest with recent Zhengzhou finalist Petra Martic, 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-3, in Thursday’s quarterfinals. Both competitors made use of their reliable backhand slice to navigate exchanges, creating a battle of patience and forcing each competitor to decide when to be the aggressor.

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The Australian saved a set point before winning the first set tiebreaker, though Martic responded valiantly by winning 20 of her 24 service points in the second set. The two traded breaks to open the decider, but it was Barty who pushed ahead in the final stages to advance in two hours and 23 minutes.

“I think it was a very high-quality match. That first set could have gone either way. One poor game from me in the second set, but really proud of the way I fought back early in the third set and was able to get the momentum my way,” Barty said on-court afterwards.

“It was just about me trying to play my way. It was about fighting for every single point. I just had to try and get that one little advantage.”

The 23-year-old Barty, now 2-0 versus Martic, is looking to add to 2019 triumphs in Sydney, Roland Garros and Birmingham.