Ashleigh Barty’s fantastic 2017 form has continued with a comfortable semi-final victory over Jelena Ostapenko at the Wuhan Open on Friday.
The unseeded Australian – who began the tournament at a career-high ranking of 37 – powered past the visibly tired Latvian 6-3 6-0 in just 75 minutes.
It was Barty’s third win over a top-10 opponent this week and a fourth-straight success against a seeded opponent.
Barty was untroubled as she moved within one win away from a second WTA title this year.
She will play Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, who beat Greek qualifier Maria Sakkari in straight sets, in the decider.
“We’ve had a great week and I’ve been playing some really good tennis, so it’s nice to get through without winning 7-6 in the third,” Barty said in reference to two of her previous three wins in China.
The 21-year-old hit 15 winners, served seven aces, and made just nine unforced errors with her backhand slice a big weapon in snapping Ostapenko’s eight-match winning streak in Asia.
“I think for us, we’ve been able to play a really consistent level throughout every match,” Barty said.
“We haven’t had any real drops. We’ve been able to change things tactically a little bit and be able to implement those really well.”
Barty broke early in the first set before French Open champion Ostapenko rallied to level the score at 2-2, after a brief weather delay.
But from that point on the Aussie lifted her game and broke serve again to lead 4-2.
In the seventh game, Barty served three consecutive aces to help consolidate her advantage and served two more as she closed out the first set.
The second set was all Barty, with a fatigued Ostapenko offering little resistance.