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Barty advances to Wuhan quarterfinals

2019 Wuhan Open - Day 4

WUHAN, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 25: Ashleigh Barty of Australia returns a shot during the match against Sofia Kenin of the United States on Day 4 of 2019 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open at Optics Valley International Tennis Center on September 25, 2019 in Wuhan, China. (Photo by Zhe Ji/Getty Images)

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WUHAN, China -- Top-ranked Ash Barty advanced to the Wuhan Open quarterfinals for the third straight year with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Sofia Kenin on Wednesday.

Barty fell behind 5-3 in the second set but saved two set points against her American opponent and won four straight games to avoid a third set.

“I had a period in the second set where I let her see far too many second serves, she was able to take advantage of that,” said Barty. “In the end, I’m really happy with how I was a bit more aggressive towards the end of the second set and closed it out in straight sets.”

The Australian will next face Petra Martic, who beat Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 6-3, 6-1.

Third-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine defeated two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-2.

Despite hitting fewer winners than the Russian, Svitolina had just 15 unforced errors, compared to her opponent’s 33.

“Today I think it was a lot about tactics. Just tried to keep the ball out of the middle, try to work with the ball, try to get the angles and don’t rush,” said Svitolina

Svitolina plays Alison Riske of the United States in the quarterfinals, who ousted eighth-seeded Qiang Wang 6-2, 6-1.

In the first match of the day, Elena Rybakina advanced after Wimbledon champion Simona Halep withdrew with a lower back injury. Halep was trailing 5-4 in the first set.

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka beat sixth-seeded Kiki Bertens 6-1, 7-6 (9) to reach the last eight.