Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus overcame 16th-seeded Australian Ashleigh Barty 7-6 (2), 6-4 on Friday to reach the final at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan (China) Open.
Barty, last year’s runner-up, entered the day as the last seeded player remaining in the tournament and had beaten Sabalenka in their only previous meeting.
“I didn’t expect this level from me,” said Sabalenka afterward, per the WTA.
“I’m so happy that I am on this level. Now I really like to fight. I think this is, you know, why it’s going really fast.”
Sabalenka, who earned her maiden WTA title at this summer’s Connecticut Open, faces Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit in the final. It’s the first time they’ve faced off.
“Tomorrow it’s a another chance to take one more title ... I hope I will come on the court without any nerves. I will just try to show my best and enjoy it,” said Sabalenka.
Kontaveit, ranked 27th, advanced from the other semifinal after local favorite Qiang Wang was forced to retire with a thigh injury, trailing 6-2, 2-1 at the time.
Russians Margarita Gasparyan and Anastasia Potapova usually play together as a doubles team, but after both won on Friday they will face off in the final.
Potapova, 17, blitzed past Kateryna Kozlova of the Ukraine in just 56 minutes, winning 6-2, 6-3.
Gasparyan, 24, had a much tougher time, but rallied to beat Germany’s Mona Barthel 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.
The pair also have a doubles semifinal later on Friday, facing the top-seeded team of Irina-Camelia Begu and Raluca Olaru, both of Romania.
Potapova beat Gasparyan in straight sets earlier this year in their only prior meeting.
—Field Level Media