Giant-killer Barty continues Wuhan rampage

Ashleigh Barty

Ashleigh Barty continued her demolition job at the Wuhan Open in China on Thursday, as she knocked out third seed Karolina Pliskova in three sets.

Having already dispatched fifth seed Johanna Konta in the second round and ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the third, the 21-year-old Australian followed that up with her first ever win over a top-5 opponent.

Barty dropped the first set against Pliskova but hit back superbly to clinch a 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-2) victory after two and a half hours to advance to the last four.

“I’ve played Karolina a couple of times now, and it’s been very close every time,” Barty said in her on-court post-match interview. “I’m happy to come through with the win today, I feel like we both played pretty good.”

“It’s been an amazing season, it really has,” she added. “I was very motivated and worked very hard last year to get back to where we are now.”

Karolina Pliskova

Pliskova was disappointed, but acknowledged her opponent’s strong performance and admitted the better player won on the day.

“I think she was playing just little bit better today,” said Pliskova. “Even though was, like, really close, one or two points, but I think she was just more aggressive. In the end of the sets, she was just going for her shots, which I was not able to make because in tiebreaks I didn’t hit any first serves.”

Pliskova wasn’t the only big name to crash out on Thursday. Top seed Garbine Muguruza was also eliminated – albeit at the hands of a dangerous foe, French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Jelena Ostapenko

Ostapenko has a tendency to blow hot and cold but can beat anyone on her day, and this was one of them.

Muguruza raced into a one-set lead, but Ostapenko turned the tables and dominated the last two sets for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory.

Ostapenko moves on to face Barty in the pick of Friday’s semi-finals.

The other semi-final sees Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia take on Maria Sakkari of Greece.